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Original Article

Geoconservation Subjectivity Evaluation: A Case Study of a Management Toolkit



Conservation efforts, such as geoconservation, involve some degree of subjectivity, compromising the objective data and verifiable evidence required for effective decision-making. Geodiversity, which comprises the non-living components that underpin life, is increasingly at risk from human activities and is frequently overlooked in conservation initiatives. Here, we develop a novel subjectivity evaluation tool and management framework, implemented as a case study at a Tasmanian mountain site using a geoconservation toolkit approach. Our assessments show that Mounts Dial (102) and Gnomon (124) are highly geodiverse, while Mount Duncan (31) is moderately geodiverse. Further, scientific, tourism, and conservation values are determined to be most representative of geoconservation significance, with Mounts Duncan and Gnomon ranking highest. However, the novel subjectivity evaluation tool reveals highly subjective data and outcomes for geodiversity and geoconservation assessment (25) attributed to a lack of scholarly literature, limited interdisciplinary engagement, and evaluator input into criteria ranking. Therefore, the subjectivity framework recommends measures to mitigate this subjectivity, by enhanced interdisciplinary engagement of expert stakeholders using objective hierarchical methods, combined with remote sensing or GIS statistical validation. Overall, the study demonstrates the usefulness of the subjectivity evaluation approach to identify parameters hindering geoconservation outcomes. The novel subjectivity approach has global implications, in improving subjectivity management in geoconservation assessment and allowing better alignment of comparisons between practitioners and sites.


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