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Conservation Geology - Protecting the hidden treasures of malaysia by ibrahim komoo

preface by tan sri datum dr ahmad zaharudin idrus FASc (president of academy of sciences malaysia) we are accustomed to using the expression "solid as a rock" to depict something that will last forever. however professor ibrahim's discourse tells us that this is not so. human activities threaten some of these treasures which are hidden from sight due to forest coverage in tropical climate. the treasures are also hidden metaphorically due to lack of knowledge.

the need for geological heritage resources to become part of overall nature conservation strategy - to achieve a holistic approach to protecting natural resources


"All geological and landscape resources have two opposing value sets: extractive and conservative. extractive activities which deplete resources are now less socially acceptable. the concept of conservation geology is about utilizing resources without destruction.

heritage value is defined as

  • scientific (important for geological records about earth's history)
  • recreational (for nature recreational activities)
  • cultural (associated with beliefs, history, archaeology

as a scientific methodology conservation geology beings with the identification of resources with potential heritage value.

developing the country's geological resources. geological data is translated into information on geological heritage, which assists with the identification, ranking, and priorisation of geological sites. the function is also geodiversity. characteristics of diversity include: rock opposition, mineralization, texture, structure, fossilization, origin and geological processes that create diverse landforms.

geoconservation arose mainly with the need to protect heritage resources; e.g.: unesco world natural heritage sites approach. the main criteria for endorsement under that programme is:

  • science
  • conservation
  • natural beauty

Since identifying "outstanding universal value" is difficult and subjective it is conducted through expert committee deliberations.

The word "geoconservation" is different to different people.

  • According to Legge & King, geological heritage conservation (or earth heritage conservation) focuses on the protection of significant geological and landform features because of their scientific, educational, research, aesthetic, and inspirational value to man.
  • Stevens defined geological or earth heritage conservation as sustaining the part of the physical resources o the earth that represents out cultural heritage, including our geological understanding and the inspirational response to the resource.
  • Sharples defined geoconservation as the conservation of geodiversity for its intrisinc, ecological and geo(heritage) values. The focus is the protection of natural geoiversity in order to not only protect features of direct scientific or inspirational value to humans but also the maintain natural ecological processes which is the focus of most nature conservation concerns.

See Also