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Geoheritage importance of stratigraphic type sections, type localities and reference sites—review, discussion and protocols for geoconservation

Brocx, M., Brown, C. and Semeniuk, V. (2019) Geoheritage importance of stratigraphic type sections, type localities and reference sites—review, discussion and protocols for geoconservation. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 66 (6). pp. 823-836.

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Equivalent in principle to type localities and type specimens in biology and paleontology, geological type sections and type localities, whether for sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous units, are critically important sites as long-term reference and research localities and for geo-education of students. Unlike type specimens that are housed in museums or established institutions of learning, most geological type sections and localities are in field settings and, if they are not located in National Parks or other reserves with some legislated protection, run the risk of being destroyed, inundated, buried by earthworks or otherwise modified. The history of the geological sciences in Australia is such that a number of type localities, or stratigraphic type sections, have been destroyed by local government actions, or developers through lack of knowledge of their importance, or lack of knowledge of their existence. Examples of the severe modification or loss of type sections include those of the Maxicar beds, the Tims Thicket Limestone and the Eaton Sand. The UK, a leader in the field of Geoconservation and with a number of global stratotype section and point locations as well as many other type sections identified within its borders, provides models for preserving and managing important geological sites and type sections. Whole-of-government and local governments are involved in the registering and protection of important geological sites. Aspects of the UK model may be adapted to help secure geological type sections and localities in Australia. While some type sections and heritage localities are already protected, to improve the level of protection for more sites we propose a long-term, multi-pronged approach: creation of an inventory of all nominated locations; registration of appropriate sites at Local, State or Federal government levels, where current legislation allows; education of landowners and land managers, both government and non-government to highlight the importance of type sections to science; and securing more geological type sections and localities in some form of reserve.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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