- Geologic Heritage
- Natural Heritage
- Heritage Areas
- Nationally Significant Landscapes
- Protected Area
- Cultural Heritage
The Geologic Resources Division of the National Park Service uses the following as a working definition of Geologic Heritage:
"Geologic Heritage encompasses the significant geologic features, landforms, and landscapes characteristic of our Nation which are preserved for the full range of values that society places on them, including scientific, aesthetic, cultural, ecosystem, educational, recreational, tourism, and other values. Geologic Heritage sites are conserved so that their lessons and beauty will remain as a legacy for future generations."
- Museum Collections
- Scientific Data Sets
Geologic heritage (or geoheritage) is not specifically defined in the American Heritage Dictionary, which defines heritage as:
"Property that is or can be inherited. 2. Something passed down from preceding generations;tradition. Syn. Heritage, inheritance, legacy, tradition."[The American Heritage Dictionary. 2001. Houghton Mifflin Company]
"Valued objects and qualities such as cultural traditions, unspoiled countryside, and historic buildings that have been passed down from previous generations. —or property that might be inherited."
"Geodiversity: the natural range (diversity) of geological (rocks, minerals, fossils), geomorphologic (land form, processes)and soil features. It includes their assemblages, relationships, properties, interpretations, and systems."(pg8)
- Geoconservation is the endeavor of trying to conserve it
- Geoheritage sites are the concrete examples of which it may be specifically identified as having conservation significance. (pg.6)
"Globally, nationally, and state wide, to local features of geology, such as igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary, stratigraphic, structural, geochemical, mineralogic, paleontological, geomorphic, pedologic, and hydrologic attributes, at all scales, that are intrinsically important sites, or culturally important sites, that offer information or insights into the formation or evolution of the Earth, or into the history of science, or that can be used for research, teaching, or reference."(pg.13)
"Preserving sites of geoheritage significance."(pg.14)
"The natural variety of geological, geomorphological, pedological, hydrological features of a given area, from the purely static features (ie. Products such as shorelines sandy spits, or limestone pinnacles, or river canyons) at one extreme, to the assemblage of products, and at the other, their formative processes (e.g., active parabolic dunes forming under a given wind regime."
"Geoconservation can be defined as action taken with the intent of conserving and enhancing geological and geomorphological features, processes, sites, and specimens. As successful conservation depends on understanding, valuing. Actions taken often include promotional and awareness raising activities."
"The natural heritage of any country includes its geological heritage, made up of many key geosites, as well as, landscapes, profoundly shaped and defined by their geology. Fossils, rocks and minerals are just as much natural heritage as plants and animals."
"Encompasses the special places and objects that have a key role in our understanding of the history of the Earth. Localities and objects that give special insights into the organic and inorganic evolution of the earth over the last 4.6 billion years."
Geological Society of America - Position Statement: Geoheritage. GSA Today. April/May 2011
"Geoheritage is a generic but descriptive term applied to sites or areas of geologic features with significant scientific, educational, cultural, or aesthetic value. They serve public interest, critical to advancing knowledge about natural hazards, groundwater supply, soils processes, climate and environmental changes, evolution of life, energy and mineral supplies, and other aspects about the nature of the earth."
National Park Service provides a lot of material pertaining to defining natural heritage.
"[T]o conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
"Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we enjoy today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Geologic heritage consists of geologic features and landforms which are part of our birthright and from which we may benefit during our lifetime, but which we also have the responsibility to preserve undiminished in quality and quantity. Geologic heritage sites may include areas of physical geology, historical geology, economic geology, exploration, and scientific and topographical surveys. Such sites generally have great potential for scientific studies, use as outdoor classrooms, enhancing public understanding and enjoyment. Geologic heritage features and landscapes are fundamental to understanding surface processes, succession and diversity of life, climatic changes over time, evolution of landforms, and the origin of mineral deposits."
"Designated by congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive nationally important landscape... diverse heritage, lived in landscape, grass-roots community driven approach to heritage conservation and economic development."
The Bureau of Land Management
"In order to conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations... there is established the National Landscape Conservation System."
Worboys, and Winkler from: Lockwood, M., G. Worboys, A. Kothari. 2008. Managing Protected Areas: a global perspective. IUCN. Earthscan, James and James LTD. UK, USA.
"We introduce the natural heritage of the Earth, and provide a biogeographical context for the establishment and management of protected areas throughout the world. We describe the evolution of the world's environments and illustrate this with selected World Heritage protected area examples. Aspects of Earth's abiotic environments, including geology, landforms, geodiversity, soils, and climate, are described for their intrinsic qualities as well as to provide background for a description of biological diversity."(pg3)
IUCN definition of Protected Area:
"An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means."
The UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972 provides definitions for their two categories of World Heritage:Cultural and Natural Heritage, which are defined as follows:
"The cultural heritage and the natural heritage are among the priceless and irreplaceable possessions, not only of each nation, but of mankind as a whole."(pg1)
"monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art, or science;
"natural features consisting of physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view;
"The variability among living organism in terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part and includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems."
Last updated: November 18, 2021