Making space for nature in a changing climate: the role of geodiversity in biodiversity conservation

John Ewart Gordon, V Brazier, PMC Bruneau, AF Rennie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Building ecosystem resilience requires consideration of the role and response of physical processes to climate change. Understanding geodiversity will enable more effective conservation strategies for managing ecosystem responses, as well as helping to mitigate future impacts, inform appropriate policies, guide adaptive management, and contribute to the restoration of ecosystems already damaged by human activities. This will require applying understanding of the spatial and temporal connectivity and dynamism of geomorphological and soil processes, and working in harmony with them. Scenarios for the likely effects of climate change on coastal, river, slope and soil processes in Scotland include: reductions in recovery time for habitats and species between extreme events; changes in the distributions of landforms in response to altered patterns and rates of both erosion and deposition; and longer landform readjustment times to extreme events due to reactivation by subsequent events. In extreme cases, the frequency and speed of geomorphological change may mean that habitat recovery is never established, potentially leading to process regime change. Managing biodiversity adaptations to climate change through making space for natural processes must be informed by wider understanding of the links between geodiversity and biodiversity as part of an ecosystem approach climate-proof future nature conservation management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-233
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number3-4
Early online date19 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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