Bucks Earth Heritage Group
Geology is present in every aspect of our lives - from the landscape we live on to the houses we live in. The food we eat depends on the soils which are derived from the underlying rock. Our water resources are controlled by geology. Where settlements, farming and industry have been possible in the past all intimately depend on the local rocks and landscapes. Yet when we think of 'conservation' we tend to immediately consider only the biological side of this subject - despite the natural flora and fauna depending on their geological environment! In short, the variety of geology underpins the variety of life - the immense richness of our ecosystems is derived from rocks, soils and climate (past and present).
Just like the more commonly used term 'biodiversity' is used to describe our heritage of plants and animals, the term 'geodiversity' is used to describe the very rich heritage of rocks, fossils, minerals and natural processes that have developed our landscape and soils.
Every county in Britain is unique in its geological resource and its historical use of that resource. Even within any individual county the geology can change dramatically in a very short distance. Consider Bucks with its younger southern end of Tertiary age spanning 130 million years through the Cretaceous to the Liassic beds of the Jurassic rocks in the north, with a good helping of Quaternary (Ice Age) deposits spread over the top - like icing on a cake.
But are rocks and landscapes at risk? For many people it is hard to imagine that rocks that have been present for millions of years are in danger of disappearing. However, there are a significant number of threats to both rocks and landscapes - from natural and man-made pressures. The recent loss of geological sites in Bucks has reached crisis point largely through landfill, major construction work (roads and buildings) and the re-landscaping which is geologically insensitive.
The Bucks Earth Heritage Group aims to both enjoy and to help conserve and record the County's geology. It does this under the Local Geological Sites (LGS) scheme and recently also undertook a trial in recording and giving a value to sites under the LGAP audit (LGAP stands for Local Geodiversity Action Plan - see the links above for more information on these).