Tasmanian reserve geoconservation inventory assessment using Geographic Information Technology (GIT)
Geoconservation is, at its foundation, a grass-roots movement with geoheritage represented by geosites containing the most scientifically significant and valuable geodiversity elements. Problems arise in the assessment and communication of inventory due in part to inconsistent and traditionally time-consuming, ‘snapshot’ assessments that are difficult to spatially monitor.
The case study of kunanyi/Mount Wellington and the encompassing IUCN Category II Wellington Park Reserve (18,250 ha) (42°53′24″ S 147°13′48″ E, Tasmania, Australia) was chosen to explore the complexities of geosite and geodiversity site assessment, detection and communication. Using digital tools, we revised a 25-year-old snapshot inventory, configuring the ESRI ‘Collector for ArcGIS’ app for in-field data collection. Putative geosite and geodiversity site attributes were assessed for scientific value, potential touristic use, and potential educational use, using theBrilha (2016) method. Additional digital tools supported spatially accurate, engaging and interactive online inventory.
Our findings suggested that many of the putative geosites in the park had low or moderate scientific values, but higher additional educational or touristic use values, especially in the urban-facing park zones. Though site degradation risk was low-moderate, sites in closer proximity to City of Hobart might experience additional impacts from visitation.
The Wellington Park is a significant protected area that aims to tell an important story about the evolution of the periglaciated terrain and the endemic fauna and flora that depend upon it. In this sense, the possibility that not all putative geosites have high scientific value (and instead, might be better classed as geodiversity sites) is of limited concern, because the myriad geodiversity elements and additional value rankings (including 50% being highly ‘representative’ elements) provide an opportunity for all who visit the park to observe a coherent story about Tasmania in an easily accessible location. The opportunities realised in the creation of the digital inventory and assessment process remedy many issues that currently hamper practical Geoconservation, improving cost, consistency and standardisation of the inventory assessment and the quality of geotouristic and educational products. This digital approach could assist protected area managers and geoconservationists to monitor, protect and communicate inventory over the long-term.
Publication titleInternational Journal of Geoheritage and Parks
Department/SchoolSchool of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
Place of publicationNetherlands
Rights statementCopyright 2021 Beijing Normal University. Publishing services by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co. Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).