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Characterising Scotland's marine environment\ud to define search locations for new Marine\ud Protected Areas. Part 2,\ud the identification of key geodiversity areas in\ud Scottish waters (interim report July 2011)

By A.J. Brooks, N.H. Kenyon, A. Leslie, D. Long and J.E. Gordon


Legislation introduced through the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Marine and Coastal\ud Access Act 2009 will enable Scottish Ministers to establish Nature Conservation Marine\ud Protected Areas (MPAs) within Scottish territorial and offshore waters. Guidelines for the\ud selection of MPAs in waters adjacent to Scotland have been drafted by Marine Scotland,\ud Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).\ud These guidelines highlight the need to identify the key biodiversity and geodiversity areas in\ud Scottish waters through a robust scientific framework with supporting justification. This report\ud focuses on the latter theme, namely the identification of key geodiversity areas in Scottish\ud waters. It is the second in a series of four reports that together support the development of a\ud wider process to define MPA search locations.\ud Section 2 of this report outlines the development of a methodology to prioritise key\ud geodiversity areas in Scottish waters. This methodology is closely based on the Geological\ud Conservation Review (GCR) scientific framework for the identification and prioritisation of\ud important aspects of Earth heritage in the terrestrial environment. However, subtle\ud amendments to the existing GCR methodology were introduced in order to ensure\ud consistency with the Scottish MPA selection guidelines. These guidelines prioritise areas\ud that: (i) contain key features considered of national or international importance; (ii) contain\ud features considered to be under threat and / or subject to rapid decline; and/or (iii) are of\ud functional significance for the overall health and diversity of Scottish Seas.\ud Section 3 of this report provides details of the key geodiversity areas identified in Scottish\ud waters. The list of key geodiversity areas was compiled using the GCR-style scientific\ud framework and is based on expert judgement and the recommendations from a workshop in\ud February 2010 attended by a range of leading Earth scientists with expertise in the Scottish\ud marine environment. Supporting statements and scientific justifications for the selection of\ud the key geodiversity areas include summary literature reviews, overviews of data availability\ud and lists of relevant publications

Publisher: Scottish Natural Heritage
Year: 2011
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