To help support International Geodiversity Day, Prof Iain Stewart has narrated this special video to explain the importance of geodiversity.
We are indebted to Dr Franziska Schrodt, Dr Richard Field, Prof Iain Stewart, Dr Ozlem Adiyaman Lopes, David Baillie, Wildcat Films, the UNESCO International Geoscience Programme, the University of Nottingham, and the University of Plymouth for creating this video. Prof José Brilha has provided support to produce the following versions with subtitles in a number of languages, assisted by many volunteers who kindly translated the text:
Geodiversity: Biodiversity's Silent Partner
Géodiversité : le partenaire discret de la biodiversité (audio français)
Geodiversity: Biodiversity's Silent Partner (Arabic)
Geodiversity: Biodiversity's Silent Partner (Farsi)
Why is geodiversity important?
There are SO many reasons why geodiversity is important. Here are just a few:
Rocks and geological processes play fundamental regulating service roles. For example, river flow is regulated by the input of geologically-hosted groundwater, such that even in times of drought the river may still flow. Rocks and sediments play a crucial role in filtering polluted surface water before it reaches an aquifer.
The natural alteration of rocks is fundamental for the formation of soils; essential for agricultural uses and the communities that rely on those agricultural products, particularly in developing countries in Africa and other continents where the improvement of soil fertility and water retention, and the reduction of soil erosion are of paramount importance.
Human well-being is also based on the diversity of geological resources. They have been used since the early years of human evolution, and play an essential role in the economic and social development of modern humanity. Wisely used, mineral resources create wealth, employment, a vital social and natural environment, and peace.
Scientific knowledge about how geological and geomorphological processes occur in nature is extremely important for risk disaster prevention (earthquakes and tsunamis, volcanoes, flooding, landslides, etc.) and to support smart solutions on land use planning and spatial management.
Science based on geodiversity contributes to understanding past changes to the climate. This knowledge can then be applied to understanding how climate may change in the future, allowing a more effective adaptation.
The increase in the number and size of megacities worldwide creates huge challenges. The application of geoscientific knowledge to engineering, supports the design and construction of infrastructure at all scales (e.g., dams, roads, tunnels, buildings, airstrips, ports, pipelines).
Geodiversity is the basis for the landscapes that underpin geotourism, such as mountains, caves and coasts. This produces and has the potential to produce significant economic benefits for local populations. Landscapes provide an identity for local and indigenous communities and attract individuals to explore the world in their leisure time.
Geodiversity acts as a natural laboratory and textbook, teaching new generations about Earth history, sustainable use of the Earth's resources and the science necessary to overcome the challenges of tomorrow.
Geodiversity is the foundation of communities, and an intrinsic part of humanity’s relationship with nature.