Progress in marine geoconservation in Scotland’s seas : assessment of key interests and their contribution to Marine Protected Area network planning
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Geoconservation in the marine environment has been largely overlooked, despite a wealth of accumulated information on marine geology and geomorphology and clear links between many terrestrial and marine features. As part of the wider characterisation of Scotland’s seas, this study developed criteria and a methodology that follow the established principles of the terrestrial, Great Britain-wide geoconservation audit, the Geological Conservation Review, to assess geodiversity key areas on the seabed. Using an expert judgement approach, eight geodiversity feature categories were identified to represent the geological and geomorphological processes that have influenced the evolution and present-day morphology of the Scottish seabed: Quaternary of Scotland; Submarine Mass Movement; Marine Geomorphology of the Scottish Deep-Ocean Seabed; Seabed Fluid and Gas Seep; Cenozoic Structures of the Atlantic Margin; Marine Geomorphology of the Scottish Shelf Seabed; Coastal Geomorphology of Scotland; and Biogenic Structures of the Scottish Seabed. Within these categories, 35 key areas were prioritised for their scientific value. Specific interests range from large-scale landforms (e.g. submarine landslides, sea-mounts and trenches) to fine-scale dynamic features (e.g. sand waves). Although these geodiversity interests provided supporting evidence for the identification and selection of a suite of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) containing important marine natural features, they are only partially represented in these MPAs and existing protected areas. Nevertheless, a pragmatic approach is emerging to integrate as far as possible the conservation management of marine geodiversity with that of biodiversity and based on evidence of the sensitivity and vulnerability geological and geomorphological features on the seabed.
Gordon , J E , Brooks , A J , Chaniotis , P D , James , B D , Kenyon , N H , Leslie , A B , Long , D & Rennie , A F 2016 , ' Progress in marine geoconservation in Scotland’s seas : assessment of key interests and their contribution to Marine Protected Area network planning ' Proceedings of the Geologists' Association , vol 127 , no. 6 , pp. 716-737 . DOI: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2016.10.002
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association
© 2016 The Geologists' Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pgeola.2016.10.002
This study was part-funded by Marine Scotland and was undertaken as part of the Scottish Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Programme, a joint initiative between Marine Scotland, Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).
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