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Staffordshire Geodiversity Action Plan


The concept and value of biodiversity has been around for some time and good progress has been made in the development and progression of the Staffordshire Biodiversity Action Plan (SBAP). Biodiversity can be more readily managed to achieve tangible benefits in terms of the range and numbers of species - Geodiversity on the other hand is more finite in the sense that it works in geological time - millions of years, rather than the years or decades in which biodiversity can change. Once lost, a geological or geomorphological feature cannot be restored or re-introduced like some plants and animals, nor can the habitat it supported be recreated - geodiversity forms the building blocks of biodiversity.

What is Geodiversity?

Geodiversity is a term that can be broadly defined as encompassing the variety of rocks, fossils and minerals and natural landscape forming processes on the earth. This is taken to include all geomorphological features and landscapes resulting from weathering and transportation of soils and rocks. Familiar sights in the countryside such as The Roaches and the Trent Valley are prime examples of a 'resource' in the sense of their contribution to an environment with a degree of geodiversity. Geodiversity in Staffordshire will be managed through the Staffordshire Geodiversity Action Plan - SGAP.

Education and Events

If you would like to learn more about the rocks, fossils and minerals of Staffordshire, there are a number of outdoor site based events throughout the year aimed at a cross section of interests and ages. Come along to one of the informal educational events and learn more about Staffordshire's Geology.

Staffordshire's Earth Heritage

The economic development of Staffordshire has been greatly influenced by its geological resources from coal mining in the Potteries to the extraction of sand and gravel from the Trent Valley. Aggregates extraction - both sand & gravel and hardrock - has provided some of the RIGS exposures that we are now looking at promoting in the community and educational establishments. Coal mining has also contributed to the economy of Staffordshire and placing RIGS localities and an Action Plan in the context of the place of geology in society if one the key objectives.

The Earth's 4,600 million year history has been divided into 12 geological time periods. Staffordshire has exposures of rock from half of these periods, dating from the Carboniferous through to the Triassic and from the Paleogene to the Quaternary. The Ice Age too has played its part in shaping Staffordshire's landscape. The South West & White Peak, Potteries, Churnet Valley and the Midlands Plateau combine to make Staffordshire one of the most geologically varied counties in Britain. Click here to find out more about Staffordshire's Geology.

Threats To Our Earth Heritage

Unfortunately many important exposures are being lost due to activities, such as tipping and development, or natural processes, creating scree slopes which obscure the rock face. Many of these locations, such as Brown End Quarry (top right) are so important that they are protected by law through their designation as Sites of Special Scientific Importance (SSSI). There are, however, many locations that are not protected by SSSI status. In 1989, English Nature set up the Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites scheme or RIGS (bottom right). The aim of this initiative is to set up county based RIGS Groups who will survey, record and register locally important sites with organisations such as County and District Planning Authorities.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

The Staffordshire RIGS Group works in partnership with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, who safeguards and cares for 31 Nature Reserves around the County, covering over 1920 acres (4,300 hectares) of prime wildlife habitat. The Wildlife Trust is based at The Wolseley Centre, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, ST17 0WT. Tel: 01889 880100 for further information The New Environment Centre and Headquarters of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (below).

Further Information

For more information about SGAP please contact Sue Lawley (Conservation Manager) at:

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
The Wolseley Centre
Wolseley Bridge
ST17 0WT
Tel - 01889 880100
E-Mail - s.lawley@staffs-wildlife.org.uk
Fax - 01889 880101

This project was funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.

Site Created by Staffordshire Ecological Record

Contents © Staffordshire Wildlife Trust 2019
Page Created 7th Jan 2009, last updated 23/04/2015

Printing of this publication for educational purposes is permitted, provided that copies are not made or distributed for commercial gain, and the title of the publication and its date appear. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission from the Steering Group.