EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Abiotic ecosystem services: an effective tool for geoconservation

Lucie Kubalíková
Lucie Kubalíková
  • Mendel University in Brno, Department of Geology and Pedology, Brno, Czechia (

In the last decades, the concept of ecosystem services has become important to nature conservation. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA 2005) demonstrated the importance of ecosystems for human well-being and identified the services that ecosystems provide to society. Nevertheless, geodiversity (abiotic nature) as an indispensable component of ecosystems was underestimated (Gray 2011). Based on this, the concepts of "abiotic ecosystem services" or “geosystem services” were defined and discussed (Gordon, Barron 2012, Gray 2013, Van Ree, van Beukering 2016).

The role of geodiversity in ecosystem services has been already recognized, but in specific cases with problems and ambiguities (Brilha et al. 2018, Gray 2018). Practical applications combining geodiversity research and the concept of abiotic ecosystem services are still rather scarce, but it is evident that the wider use of this concept can provide a framework for (geo)conservation activities, sustainable use of resources or educational and tourist activities. The application of the abiotic ecosystem services concept can also enable better communication with policymakers and facilitate the “infiltration” of geodiversity’s importance into care plans for protected sites, regional strategic documents or legislation and policies (Brilha et al. 2018, Schrodt et al. 2019).

Abiotic ecosystem services are already included in the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (European Environmental Agency 2018). Nevertheless, there are still several methodological questions regarding the possible practical application.

The case study is focused on the assessment of abiotic ecosystem services at Stránská skála Rock in Brno (Czech Republic). It is a site protected by law (National Natural Monument since 1978) and currently, a new care plan is prepared. The ecosystem services concept is used to assess the abiotic components of the site (limestone outcrops, abandoned quarries, cave systems). Two approaches are applied (Gray 2013 and European Environmental Agency 2018) and their suitability or ambiguities are discussed. Based on the application of the concepts, the value of geodiversity can be fully recognized and the management of the site thus can be more effective.



Brilha J et al. (2018) Geodiversity: An integrative review as a contribution to the sustainable management of the whole of nature. Environmental Science and Policy 86:19–28

European Environmental Agency (2018) Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services V5.1.

Gordon JE, Barron HF (2012) Valuing geodiversity and geoconservation: developing a more strategic ecosystem approach. Scottish Geographical Journal, 128:278–297

Gray M (2011) Other nature: geodiversity and geosystem services. Environmental Conservation 38(3):271–274

Gray M (2013) Geodiversity: Valuing and Conserving Abiotic Nature. Second Edition. Wiley Blackwell, 495 p

Gray M (2018) The confused position of the geosciences within the “natural capital” and “ecosystem services” approaches. Ecosystem Services 34A:106-112

MEA – Millenium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington DC.

Schrodt F et al. (2019) To advance sustainable stewardship, we must document not only biodiversity but geodiversity. PNAS 116(33):16155–16158

Van Ree CCDF, van Beukering PJH (2016) Geosystem services: A concept in support of sustainable development of the subsurface. Ecosystem Services 20:30–36


How to cite: Kubalíková, L.: Abiotic ecosystem services: an effective tool for geoconservation, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-213,, 2019


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