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Biogeomorphology: past, present and future
Viles, H. (2020). Biogeomorphology: past, present and future. Geomorphology (Amst.) 366: 106809.
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Ecogeomorphology; Zoogeomorphology; Ecosystem engineering

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  • Viles, H.

    Since the 1970s there has been a considerable expansion in biogeomorphological research which considers the complex, two-way relationships between biological, ecological and geomorphological systems over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Advances have been made in theoretical, methodological, thematic and applied aspects of biogeomorphology. A review of key publications and symposia over the period illustrates growth in biogeomorphology with particular advances in quantitative understandings of biogeomorphic interactions, in interdisciplinary participation, and in theoretical framings. Theoretical advances have been influenced by the desire to answer four fundamental questions: How do ecological and geomorphological systems interact? Is there a geomorphological signature of life? How important is biodiversity to landscape evolution and vice versa? How have life and landscape co-evolved? A review of methodological advances in biogeomorphology confirms the continuing importance of field monitoring, and the increasingly tight collaboration between experimental and modelling-based research. Thematically, particularly strong progress has been made in disentangling the complex bidirectional biogeomorphic interactions in coastal sedimentary environments, and fluvial and riparian systems. It is increasingly obvious that variation in ecological traits leads to large differences in biogeomorphic impacts of different species in different circumstances. This poses challenges for applications of biogeomorphology to environmental management and conservation. Seven key topics emerge from this review and provide the basis for a biogeomorphological research agenda to usher in the next 50 yr of progress.

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