University of Tasmania

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Omnidiversity consolidation of conservation assessment : a case study of Tasmanian coastal geoconservation sites

posted on 2023-05-27, 18:51 authored by Jake CrispJake Crisp
In the midst of a global ecological crisis, biodiversity and geodiversity exclusivity hamper conservation outcomes, evidenced by partialities toward biodiversity in conservation discourse, lagging geoconservation strategies, and the developmental state of geodiversity assessment. Biodiversity assessment is constitutive in facilitating biological conservation outcomes and priorities, yet geodiversity assessment is regarded as a separate research endeavour from geoconservation strategies. In addition, geodiversity assessment adds new dimensions to biodiversity assessment as a surrogate in the absence of species data, improves statistical modelling, and can facilitate the prediction of species distribution and abundance. Further, geodiversity underpins biodiversity and contributes significantly to the capacity of ecosystems to support life. However, global conservation management initiatives such as ecosystem-based management, ecosystem services, and other holistic conservation endeavours such as nature conservation exclude geodiversity. Further, geoconservation strategies, a global endeavour in the literature to conserve geodiversity, currently preclude geodiversity and biodiversity assessment methods. Therefore, with unprecedented global biodiversity decline and with unparalleled exploitation of geodiversity resources, significant practical outcomes in conservation would be gained from addressing the exclusivity between geodiversity and biodiversity assessment, such as improved collaboration between biologists and geoscientists, efficacious indicators of conservation value given that geodiversity underpins biodiversity in ecosystems, abatement of biodiversity partialities, broader inclusion of geodiversity in conservation discourse, and a streamlined approach in conservation processes to assess and manage natural diversity. Therefore, in two stages, this thesis develops the first consolidated approach bridging the gap between geodiversity and biodiversity assessment using geoconservation strategies as a case study. Chapter 4 consolidates geodiversity assessment with geoconservation, and Chapter 5 then consolidates geodiversity and biodiversity assessment with geoconservation strategies. Chapters 2 and 3 critically examined geodiversity and biodiversity assessment literature. In Chapter 2, quantitative geodiversity assessment literature was analysed to identify methodological trends and inclusiveness of biodiversity assessment. In Chapter 3, biodiversity assessment literature was analysed to identify methodological trends and geodiversity inclusiveness. In geodiversity assessment literature, about 50% of publications independently assessed geodiversity with no consideration for biodiversity, 32% discussed or reviewed geodiversity by mentioning potential links to biodiversity, and 12% of geodiversity assessment scholars considered biodiversity assessment in their methodological intentions. Tools used by scholars to assess geodiversity varied from statistical through to the more frequently adopted geographic information system and spatial analytical software approaches, and statistical approaches were commonly used to explore relationships between elements of geodiversity and biodiversity. In biodiversity assessment literature, all articles excluded ‚ÄövÑv=geodiversity assessment‚ÄövÑv¥ from their methodological intentions, with geodiversity-relevant terms such as hydrological, soil, geological, and geormorphological components mentions, but the all-encompassing ‚ÄövÑv=geodiversity‚ÄövÑv¥ term was absent entirely. Biodiversity assessments were most commonly implemented using field-based biodiversity assessments, followed by laboratory, numerical or statistical, and then spatial approaches. In Chapter 4, ArcGIS digital applications consolidated the exclusivity between geodiversity assessment and geoconservation strategies. A novel geoconservation toolkit was developed using the ArcGIS mobile digital applications QuickCapture, Survey123, and Explorer. The geoconservation toolkit successfully closed the gap between geodiversity assessment and geoconservation strategies, addressed criteria subjectivities with a novel suitability analysis approach, and attenuated discrepancies in geoconservation strategy protocols. The geoconservation toolkit facilitated streamlined inventorying, geodiversity, and geoheritage assessment by unifying disparate geoconservation strategy steps and was demonstrated as a viable approach to streamline and improve geoconservation outcomes. In Chapter 5, ArcGIS Survey123 was adapted to consolidate geodiversity and biodiversity assessment with geoconservation strategies, and ArcGIS FieldMaps facilitated capturing the spatial location of all features. Results showed variable geodiversity, species richness, and visible interactions across all three coastal geoconservation sites considered: Don Heads, Penguin Megabreccia, and Mersey Bluff in North-West Tasmania, Australia. Preceding the development of this consolidation approach ‚ÄövÑv¨ omnidiversity ‚ÄövÑv¨ the delicate interactions between geodiversity and biodiversity, biodiversity assessment, and geodiversity assessment were not considered in geoconservation strategies, and geodiversity was conserved only for its geoheritage importance.



School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences

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