The Geographic Basis of Geomorphic Enquiry

Nicholas Preston*, Gary Brierley, Kirstie Fryirs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Geomorphic enquiry ranges from interpretations of landscape evolution framed within geological sciences to contemporary process-form analyses that build upon engineering applications. Geographic discourse blends these perspectives, emphasizing spatio-temporal relationships across a range of scales. Following a brief historical overview, this article highlights how emerging themes in geomorphic enquiry emphasize nonlinear, emergent aspects of geomorphic systems. Such understandings extend beyond traditional conceptualizations of landscapes that were based upon notions of deterministic stability and predictability. The unique configuration and temporal sequence of drivers, disturbances and responses of each landscape, along with the historical imprint, result in system-specific behavioural and evolutionary traits wherein landscape forms and processes are contingent upon a multitude of factors. This place-based perspective of landscapes is an inherently geographical approach to enquiry. Such geomorphic thinking provides a coherent template for a range of environmental management applications, especially in interdisciplinary fields such as landscape ecology and landscape engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalGeography Compass
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


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