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Geodiversity

Why are we willing to fund this package?

'Geodiversity' is the variety of rocks, minerals, fossils, landforms, sediments and soils in an area. It also includes the natural processes which form and alter these features.

Scotland has a remarkable geodiversity, which reflects a rich and varied geological history that spans 3 billion years of the Earth's existence. Scotland's geodiversity is important nationally and internationally for understanding past geological processes that have global significance, such as volcanism, continental drift and ice ages. Equally, some of Scotland's rocks contain a rich variety of internationally important fossils which have greatly explained the evolution of plant and animal life. Geodiversity features are non-renewable assets which exist in varied forms: rock exposures, landforms, sediments and soils. They cover a range of geographical scales; from small rock outcrops with single features of interest to landscapes made up of many rock outcrops, landforms and soils.

Geodiversity also has much wider relevance and value. It influences:

· landscape

· habitats and species

· economic activities (including geotourism and opportunities for recreation and leisure activities)

· the historical, cultural and built heritage

· sustainable management of the land, river catchments and the coast, including adaptations to climate change and sea-level rise.

Scotland's geodiversity forms the foundation upon which plants, animals and human beings live and interact. The geomorphological processes that shape our mountains, rivers and coasts also maintain dynamic habitats and ecosystems. Scotland's biodiversity depends on these processes.

This package will support appropriate conservation of geodiversity features and the sustainable management of land and water. It will help to maintain natural processes and support ecosystems, as well as the links between geodiversity and Scotland's distinctive cultural landscapes.

What will this package achieve?

It is a common misconception that geological and landscape features are strong enough not to need active management. All geological features are vulnerable to unsuitable activities. Obvious threats are posed by inappropriate site development, such as the infilling of quarries. But they can also be threatened by:

· the encroachment of vegetation

· tipping of waste

· irresponsible specimen collecting

· general deterioration with time.

All these can damage or remove features of significant value.

Geomorphological processes frequently affect human activity. For example, flooding, coastal erosion, landslips and soil erosion can have economic and social costs. Locally engineered solutions such as riverbank and coast protection measures can be unsuccessful or simply transfer the problem elsewhere. This can have negative impacts on the natural heritage. Sustainable solutions work with natural processes. For example, this means maintaining the supply of sediment at the coast to support 'natural' forms of flood defence such as beaches and saltmarshes, and allowing river floodplains to act as natural floodwater storage areas.

Soil is an often overlooked part of geodiversity. But it provides the support for growing plants, agriculture and forestry production, and habitat development. It also has key environmental functions, for example:

· water filtering and storage

· carbon storage

· biodiversity resource

· recording climate and land-use changes.

In recent years, the way we value soil has changed. It is not only a way of producing from the land; it is now being seen as having much wider value as a means of supporting ecosystems, the environment and the economy.

This package will help you to manage geodiversity to benefit landscape, habitats, and support the operation of natural processes. It will help you to restore and enhance geodiversity features. It will help you to continue to manage or use them sustainably as part of your croft or farm business.

What can you do?

You should choose which of the following Options will help deliver the outcome you have selected.

We suggest the following Options may all be appropriate.

These Options will only help achieve the desired outcome in specific circumstances. If you choose any of these, the application system will ask you to explain how you see this Option helping to achieve the outcome. You can select as many, or as few, Options as you think you will need. You must judge which Options will most effectively deliver the desired outcomes taking account of your circumstances.

These Options will help deliver the desired outcome in specific circumstances:

· Skills development

· Management/restoration of lowland raised bogs

· Buffer areas for fens and lowland raised bogs

· Wildlife management on upland and peatland sites

· Management of moorland grazing

· Moorland grazings on uplands and peatlands

· Soil and water management programme

· Water margins and enhanced riparian buffer areas

· Management of flood plains

· Area access management

· Enjoyment of rural landscapes

· Management and repair of vernacular buildings

· Management of archaeological or historic sites

· Woodland Creation

· Sustainable management of forests

· Woodland improvement grant

Other support available under the SRDP.

There may be other options available under the SRDP that can help you to manage geodiversity. The following Land Managers' Options may complement activities undertaken through Rural Priorities and help you to manage and safeguard geodiversity:

· Skills development

· Management of moorland grazing

· Nutrient management plan

· Improving access

· Active management to improve the condition of vernacular rural buildings, archaeological or historic sites and historic landscapes.

Links to technical guidance

Fossil code

Geological conservation: a guide to good practice

SNH Coastal Defence Manual

BCTV Handbook