pp 1–20 | Cite as

The Specificities of Geomorphosites and Their Influence on Assessment Procedures: a Methodological Comparison

  • Daniel S. SantosEmail author
  • Emmanuel Reynard
  • Kátia L. Mansur
  • José C. S. Seoane
Original Article


The growing interest in geoconservation is demonstrated, by among others, the numerous site inventories that have been conducted in different countries. The methodological bases of these inventories are still under development, and several proposals representing significant theoretical and practical advances have been published in recent decades. The methods are designed to match the purpose of the inventory. Geomorphosites are a type of geosite whose specificities are highlighted in the literature: the imbrication of spatial and temporal scales, and the dynamic and aesthetic dimensions. Two other characteristics that are not specific to geomorphosites can also be highlighted: the ecological and cultural values of such sites. The objective of this study was to analyze the influence of these specificities on the assessment procedures used for geomorphosites. Two methods—the Brazilian GEOSSIT method and the Swiss UNIL method—were applied in two completely different geomorphological contexts: a mountain area in the Swiss Alps and a coastal area in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ten sites were selected in each area to be assessed using the two methods, one of which was designed specifically for geomorphosites (UNIL) and the other was designed for any type of geosite (GEOSSIT). The results revealed marked disparities between the two methods and highlighted the influence of the specificities of geomorphosites in all steps of the assessment. These results underline the fact that methods of assessment need to take these characteristics into account to create inventories that will be effective for the conservation, use, and management of geomorphosites.


Geomorphosites Assessment methods Geomorphological heritage Methodological comparison 



This work was supported by the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Personnel (CAPES – Brazilian government) and the Institute of Geography and Sustainability of the University of Lausanne. We express our gratitude to two anonymous reviewers for the helpful comments that improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Post-Graduation Program in Geology, Department of GeologyFederal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of Geography and SustainabilityUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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