NatureScot Commissioned Report 892: Geological and geomorphological features of SSSIs contributing to the MPA network in Scotland's seas
Legislative provisions in the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 enable existing Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) to be formally acknowledged as contributing to Scotland’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) network (and the wider UK MPA network).
It’s recognised that our MPA network should include sites for geological and geomorphological features as well as conservation sites for habitats and species. Prior to the present study, the potential contribution of geodiversity interests within existing coastal SSSIs hadn’t yet been assessed.
This desk-based study’s main aims were to:
- identify the marine geological and geomorphological features of relevance to coastal SSSIs in Scotland
- compile a list of SSSIs that contain and protect these features
A total of 174 SSSIs were found to include confirmed marine geological and geomorphological Geological Conservation Review (GCR) interests below mean high water springs (MHWS). These SSSIs can be seen as contributing to our MPA network.
All SSSIs with coastal geomorphology GCR interests may also be seen as contributing to an MPA network via a process or sediment supply role.