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Geomorphosites Assessment Methods: Comparative Analysis and Typology

  • Vanessa Costa MucivunaEmail author
  • Emmanuel Reynard
  • Maria da Glória Motta Garcia
Original Article


Due to the increase in geoconservation studies, several methods of qualitative and quantitative assessment of geosites have been published since the 1990s. However, the criteria and parameters used in the methods are often unclear and ambiguous. Thus, the aims of this study were to analyse how methods of qualitative and quantitative evaluation of geomorphological heritage developed and to compare them. The analysis resulted in a typology of the works published until now. A literature review was conducted based on three criteria, the papers had to be (i) written in English, (ii) published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and (iii) include at least one of the following keywords in the title: geomorphological heritage, geomorphological site and geomorphosite. Based on these criteria, 71 papers were analysed. Five categories are proposed: (i) application of previous methods, (ii) creation of new methods, (iii) application of previous methods combined with new methods, (iv) comparison of methods and (v) no description of method. The outcomes show that the qualitative evaluation should be more systematic and explicit according to the criteria applied and the main purpose of the evaluation. Quantitative methods should focus on reducing weaknesses associated with the overlapping and lack of clarity of some criteria. The proposed typology allowed us to summarise the papers published so far and to highlight the need to focus on improving existing methods rather than proposing new ones.


Geoconservation Geomorphological heritage Assessment Inventory Typology Criteria 



We are grateful to National Council for Science and Technological Development of Brazil (CNPq) for the doctoral scholarship (Process n. 141970/2017-0) and the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for the mobility scholarship (PSDE Process 88881.189352/2018-01) granted to the first author, and the Institute of Geography and Sustainability of University of Lausanne for their provided support. We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on the manuscript and to Daphne Goodfellow for the improvement of the English manuscript


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© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeoHereditas, Institute of GeosciencesUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of Geography and SustainabilityGéopolis, University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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