Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 2751–2766 | Cite as

On the relationship between a resource based measure of geodiversity and broad scale biodiversity patterns

  • K. E. ParksEmail author
  • M. Mulligan
Review Paper


Geodiversity, (diversity of the geosphere) incorporates many of the environmental patterns and processes that are considered drivers of biodiversity. Components of geodiversity (climate, topography, geology and hydrology) can be considered in terms of their resource giving potential, where resources are taken as energy, water, space and nutrients. The total amount of these resources, along with their spatial and temporal variation, is herein proposed as a compound index of geodiversity that has the potential to model broad scale biodiversity patterns. This paper outlines potential datasets that could be used to represent geodiversity, and then reviews the theoretical links between each element of the proposed compound index of geodiversity (overall resource availability, temporal variation and spatial variation in those resources) and broad-scale patterns of biodiversity. Support for the influence of each of the elements of geodiversity on overall biodiversity patterns was found in the literature, although the majority of relevant research focuses on resource availability, particularly available energy. The links between temporal and spatial variation in resources and biodiversity have been less thoroughly investigated in the literature. For the most part, it was reported that overall resource availability, temporal variation and spatial variation in those resources do not act in isolation in terms of controlling biodiversity. Overall there are sufficient datasets to calculate the proposed compound index of geodiversity, and evidence in the literature for links between the geographical distribution of biodiversity and each of the elements of the compound index defined. Since data for measuring geodiversity is more spatially consistent and widely available (thanks to satellite remote sensing) geodiversity has potential as a conservation planning tool, especially where biological data are not available or sparsely distributed.


Biodiversity Conservation Environmental diversity Geodiversity Spatial heterogeneity Modelling Landscape 



Convention on Biodiversity


Global Biodiversity Information Facility


Species Area Relationship


Shuttle Radar Topography Mission


Digital Elevation Model


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Tropical Rainfall Monitoring Mission


Precipitation radar


Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer


National Geospatial Intelligence Agency


United States Geological Survey


Harmonised World Soil Database


Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations


Non-Governmental Organisation


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKing’s College London LondonUK

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