University of Oulu

Tukiainen, H., Maliniemi, T., Alahuhta, J., Hjort, J., Lindholm, M., Salminen, H., Snåre, H., Toivanen, M., Vilmi, A., & Heino, J. (2023). Quantifying alpha, beta and gamma geodiversity. Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment, 47(1), 140–151.

Quantifying alpha, beta and gamma geodiversity

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Author: Tukiainen, Helena1; Maliniemi, Tuija1,2; Alahuhta, Janne1;
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen, Norway
3Finnish Environment Institute, Freshwater Centre, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-12-01


Geodiversity is an emerging, multi-faceted concept in Earth and environmental sciences. Knowledge on geo-diversity is crucial for understanding functions of natural systems and in guiding sustainable development. Despite the critical nature of geodiversity information, data acquisition and analytical methods have lagged behind the conceptual developments in biosciences. Thus, we propose that geodiversity research could adopt the framework of alpha, beta and gamma concepts widely used in biodiversity research. Especially, geodiversity research would benefit from widening its scope from the evaluation of individual sites towards more holistic geodiversity assessments, where between-site geodiversity is also considered. In this article, we explore the alpha, beta and gamma concepts and how they can be applied in a geodiversity framework. In addition, we scrutinize the statistical methodology related to alpha, beta and gamma geodiversity evaluations, with a special focus on distance metrics for measuring beta geodiversity. As an overview of the process, and to give practical guidelines for the application of the proposed methodology, we present a case study from a UNESCO Global Geopark area. Thus, this study not only develops the geodiversity concept, but also paves the way for simultaneous understanding of both geodiversity and biodiversity within a unified conceptual approach.

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Series: Progress in physical geography. Earth and environment
ISSN: 0309-1333
ISSN-E: 1477-0296
ISSN-L: 0309-1333
Volume: 47
Issue: 1
Pages: 140 - 151
DOI: 10.1177/03091333221114714
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
1171 Geosciences
119 Other natural sciences
Funding: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study is supported by Academy of Finland, projects number 322652 (JA, HT, TM), 315519 (JHjort), and 331957 (JHeino, HSnåre). TM received funding from Foundations’ Post Doc pool/Finnish Cultural Foundation and MT from Maj & Tor Nessling Foundation. AV was supported by the FRESHABIT LIFE IP (LIFE14/IPE/FI/023) project.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 322652
Detailed Information: 322652 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
315519 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
331957 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2022. Article reuse guidelines: