NOVA SCOTIA’S GEOHERITAGE STRATEGY: A TRANSFERRABLE MODEL
Geoheritage in Nova Scotia is informed by the World Heritage convention that identifies both natural (geological) sites in their own right, and cultural sites (where human history is involved at the site: examples include historical mining and spiritual sites). Natural sites are ranked by a clear and simple rubric that can be employed in a timely fashion in any jurisdiction: GH1 sites are globally unique, GH2 are globally significant, and GH3 are exceptional examples. This latter category is the most subjective and has the potential therefore to balloon the list, hence the descriptor ‘exceptional’. A guiding question is this: “Who is geoheritage for?” Sites that are meaningful to geoscientists (e.g. type stratigraphic sections) are not in all cases inspirational to the broader public, and can in fact leave a negative impression. A further rubric of appropriateness for the public that includes safety, vulnerability/integrity, and interpretive potential defines a subset of public geoheritage (geotourism) sites. By focusing on geologic age over process, identification of sites where Earth processes and in some cases the history of life are entwined is encouraged, to illustrate the complex system that is Earth. Such an understanding grows ever more crucial as humanity faces global challenges that require the insight of Earth history.