Omnidiversity consolidation of conservation assessment: a case study of Tasmanian coastal geoconservation sites
Crisp, JRA and Ellison, JC and Fischer, A, Omnidiversity consolidation of conservation assessment: a case study of Tasmanian coastal geoconservation sites, Geoconservation Research, 5, (1) pp. 108-134. ISSN 2588-7343 (2022) [Refereed Article]
The exclusivity of biodiversity and geodiversity assessment hinders conservation outcomes, evidenced by the prioritization of biodiversity in conservation literature, and lagging developmental state in geodiversity assessment approaches, geoconservation strategies and outcomes. This study develops a consolidated approach, "omnidiversity", amalgamating geodiversity and biodiversity assessment with geoconservation strategies and complementary ecological conservation criteria using ArcGIS mobile applications. ArcGIS Survey123 was adapted to assess geodiversity, biodiversity, geoconservation criteria and values. ArcGIS FieldMaps facilitated capturing the spatial location of biodiversity and geodiversity features. Three coastal geoconservation sites – Don Heads, Penguin Megabreccia, and Mersey Bluff – on the north-west coast of Tasmania were used as case studies. Results showed highest geodiversity (43.7), species richness (141) and visible interactions between geodiversity and biodiversity (120) at Don Heads geoconservation site, followed by geodiversity (40.5), species richness (107) and interactions (76) at Penguin Megabreccia site, and lowest geodiversity (7.3), species richness (89) and interactions (28) at the Mersey Bluff site. Omnidiversity showed biodiversity at Don Heads as most sensitive to geodiversity degradation attributed to extensive visible interactions, high conservation value, and the presence of sensitive species like the Little Penguin; followed by Penguin Megabreccia and Mersey Bluff coastal geoconservation sites. Omnidiversity allowed time-effective and cost-effective methods to simultaneously assess geodiversity and biodiversity, determine the harboring capacity of geodiversity for biodiversity, and facilitate conservation through unification of disparate steps into one streamlined approach. Using traditional geoconservation strategies, biodiversity values are excluded, and geodiversity elements are conserved only for their geoheritage importance. Omnidiversity enabled effective assessment of vulnerable environments and has potential to benefit other holistic approaches such as the conserving nature’s stage approach and ecosystem-based management. Subsequent research could augment omnidiversity with other traditional biodiversity assessment approaches and conservation strategies, further trial in other ecosystems, and develop an optimized third-party digital application to provide greater availability for use.