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Landscape development, collective amnesia and the need for integration in geomorphological research

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Studies of long–term landscape change have been central to the development of ideas in geomorphology. This paper examines the history of these ideas in the context of a spiral growth model, in which progress is punctuated by ‘paradigm shifts’ and important concepts are periodically revisited. This model is used to chart the widespread abandonment of landscape research in Anglo–American geomorphology in the 1960s and 1970s and its replacement with an emphasis on smaller scale process and applied studies that have led to increasingly specialized research more closely allied to other disciplines. It is argued that it is now appropriate to re–think the fundamental goals of geomorphological research and for accumulated process knowledge to be used to bring long–term and broad–scale perspectives of landscape change back to prominence. This should be undertaken while the background to such studies and the associated pitfalls are retained within the collective academic memory and before ownership of landscape studies is lost to other disciplines.

Keywords: denudation chronology; geomorphology; landscape; process

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Queen's University Belfast

Publication date: December 1, 2002


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