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Geotourism and Local Development Based on Geological and Mining Sites Utilization, Zaruma-Portovelo, Ecuador

Centro de Investigación y Proyectos Aplicados a las Ciencias de la Tierra (CIPAT-FICT), ESPOL Polytechnic University, Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL), Campus Gustavo Galindo, Km. 30.5 vía Perimetral, 09-01-5863 Guayaquil, Ecuador
Facultad de Ciencias de la Ingeniería, Universidad Estatal Península de Santa Elena (UPSE), Avda. principal La Libertad—Santa Elena, 240204 La Libertad, Ecuador
Escuela Superior y Técnica de Ingenieros de Minas, Universidad de León (ULE), Campus of Vegazana, s/n, 24071 León, Spain
Departamento de Geología, Universidad de Oviedo (UNIOVI), Calle Jesús Arias de Velasco, s/n, 33005 Oviedo, Spain
Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME), C/Matemático Pedrayes 25, 33005 Oviedo, Spain
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2018, 8(6), 205;
Received: 8 May 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geotourism)
This study offers a detailed assessment of the geosites and mining sites present in the Zaruma-Portovelo mining district (Ecuador) through their qualitative and quantitative assessment. It shows up the potentiality of this area taking advantage of its geological-mining heritage. The methodological process includes: (i) compilation and inventory of all the sites within the study area with particular geological or mining interest; (ii) preparation of reports and thematic cartography, (iii) assessment and classification of the elements of geological-mining interest; (iv) SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and TOWS (Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses, Strengths) matrix preparation seeking strategies to guarantee the viability of geotourism. A total of 16 sites of geological interest and 11 of mining interest were identified. The 77% of these sites was proved to be of high and very high interest in scientific terms. Likewise, their susceptibility to degradation assessed from their vulnerability and fragility was found to be high or very high in the 30% of the cases. As for the protection priority, all the studied sites obtained a medium-high result. Finally, the study based on the SWOT-TOWS revealed the possibility of applying action strategies in order to facilitate the compatibility of geotourism with the current productive activities, despite the difficult situation in the study area created by mining activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: geosites; mining sites; geotourism; Ecuador; Zaruma-Portovelo; sustainable development geosites; mining sites; geotourism; Ecuador; Zaruma-Portovelo; sustainable development
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carrión Mero, P.; Herrera Franco, G.; Briones, J.; Caldevilla, P.; Domínguez-Cuesta, M.J.; Berrezueta, E. Geotourism and Local Development Based on Geological and Mining Sites Utilization, Zaruma-Portovelo, Ecuador. Geosciences 2018, 8, 205.

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