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Geoheritage Conservation: Systematic Mapping Study for Conceptual Synthesis

Abstract

Geological resources are basic elements that have shaped both the course of human history and characteristics of human society. Protection of their imprint on our landscapes underlies the field of nature conservation known as geoconservation. Explicitly from 1991—when the term “geoheritage” was used at the First International Symposium on the Conservation of our Geological Heritage—a large body of literature has been produced with multiple conceptualizations. In response to challenges in finding a common definition of geoconservation, a systematic mapping of the scientific literature was undertaken to define key concepts supported by scientific evidence. The aim of this study was understanding the evolution of the research field between 2000 and 2019 to improve conceptual clarity. Relevant databases such as Google Scholar, Science Direct, and Scopus were searched, resulting in the identification of a total of 2478 studies. A method of systematic mapping with supervised keyword acquisition was used to assess geoheritage conservation documents. The analysis uncovered four recurrent concepts, each one describing a very different scope for geoheritage conservation: i) geoscience focus; ii) aligned conservation methods for geo- and biodiversity; iii) the concept of geomorphosites, as a leading resource for geoparks; iv) emphasis on community involvement for sustainability. For characterization of the concept groups, 70 findings were identified as primary articles following criteria implemented through direct reading. These criteria were derived from the identified keywords of each concept group. The information gained by the process allowed us to characterize and list all the major standpoints present in the scientific literature.

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Data Availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, [BN], upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge funding support from DEtermining VOlcanic Risk in Auckland (DEVORA) collaborative research programme and GNS Science contract GNS-EQC00028-DEVORA Sub-Contract–“GeoHeritage Values in Auckland - Planning and public education.” We acknowledge the support by the Volcanic Risk Solutions, a multidisciplinary center for applied volcanic hazard and risk management research at Massey University. Our research is aligned with the goals of the UNESCO IGCP 692 “Geoheritage for Geohazard Resilience” project. We thank Ilmars Gravis of The Geoconservation Trust Aotearoa for the suggestions that highly improved this manuscript.

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This study was supported by a grant from Detecting Volcanic Risk in Auckland research programme, New Zealand that funded by GNS Science contract GNS-EQC00028.

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Correspondence to Boglárka Németh.

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Németh, B., Németh, K., Procter, J.N. et al. Geoheritage Conservation: Systematic Mapping Study for Conceptual Synthesis. Geoheritage 13, 45 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-021-00561-z

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Keywords

  • Geoheritage,
  • Geoheritage conservation,
  • Geoconservation,
  • Geoeducation,
  • Geosite,
  • Geomorphosite,
  • Intrinsic values,
  • Extrinsic values,
  • Fundamental values,
  • Additional values,
  • Geotourism,
  • Geodiversity,
  • Google Scholar,
  • Scopus,
  • Science Direct