Geoheritage and Geodiversity: Conceptual Developments, Extended Geographical Focus, and Practical Implications

A special issue of Heritage (ISSN 2571-9408). This special issue belongs to the section "Geoheritage and Geo-Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2022) | Viewed by 38411

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Guest Editor
Department of Organization and Technologies of Service Activities, Institute of Tourism, Service and Creative Industries, Southern Federal University, 23-ja Linija Street 43, Rostov-on-Don 344019, Russia
Interests: stratigraphy; paleontology; tectonics; management of natural and mineral resources; geoconservation; geotourism; ecological law and climate change policy at local, national, and international levels
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

the research in geological and geomorphological heritage, its conservation and tourism exploitation has accelerated since the mid-2000s. The ideas of geodiversity and geopark networks have become widely-accepted, although still strongly-debated. A lot of theoretical developments, methodological advances, and case studies have been undertaken, with hundreds of papers published in scientific journals on regular basis. However, much work is yet to be done. For instance, geoheritage classifications have to be improved, broad agreement of what is geodiversity should be reached, geoheritage inventory in many countries needs initiation or intensification, etc. These are important perspectives for current and future investigations that will trigger permanent increase in the number of articles. Moreover, geoheritage is not only about peculiar minerals, fossils, and landforms. Ancient cultures and artefacts, soils and organisms, and human activity are also in the focus of geoheritage investigations.

The present special issue of "Heritage" offers to geoheritage experts from all countries a unique possibility to present their opinion to the world research community and to share their newest findings with the other experts in this field. A higher task of this special issue is to widen the both geoheritage knowledge and circle of experts working in this field. Additionally, it is expected to hear the voice from those countries where unique geological and geomorphological features have been reported rarely or not reported at all.

High-quality papers of all types (Reviews, Articles, Communications) and on all geoheritage-related topics are welcomed. These may deal with geoheritage potential of big territories, individual geosites and geoparks, theoretical views and classifications, geoheritage assessment approaches, geoconservation approaches, geotourism practice and potential, geodiversity interpretations, geoarchaeology, geological museums, building stones, and other relevant topics. Multidisciplinary studies linking geology and environmental studies to archaeology, biology, economics, philosophy, and art through the prism of geoheritage knowledge will be appreciated.

Dr. Dmitry A. Ruban
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Heritage is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • geoconservation
  • geosite
  • geomorphosite
  • geopark
  • geotourism
  • regional planning
  • site assessment

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

3 pages, 197 KiB  
Editorial
Geoheritage Is Everywhere: Research Tasks and Perspectives
by Dmitry A. Ruban
Heritage 2022, 5(4), 3479-3481; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5040179 - 16 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1118
Abstract
Since the beginning of the 2000s, geoheritage studies have changed from chiefly being applied, tentative, and ephemeral research projects to becoming a full-scale, mainstream direction of geoscience investigations [...] Full article

Research

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23 pages, 5061 KiB  
Article
“Diffused Geoparks”: Territorial Integration as Solution for a Shared Sustainable Growth Based on Geotourism in Italy, Japan and Tunisia
by Roberta Varriale, Laura Genovese and Barbara Aldighieri
Heritage 2022, 5(3), 2083-2105; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5030109 - 3 Aug 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2686
Abstract
The concept of a UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGp) itself implies that the integration of geological, biological and anthropogenic factors and related values, both tangible and intangible, are at the base of any interpretation, communication, educative practices and enhancement aiming at strengthening the sense [...] Read more.
The concept of a UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGp) itself implies that the integration of geological, biological and anthropogenic factors and related values, both tangible and intangible, are at the base of any interpretation, communication, educative practices and enhancement aiming at strengthening the sense of place in local communities, as well as guiding those areas toward sustainable economic growth. However, the measures and good practices codified for UGGps limit their impact on the properties’ boundaries, sometimes neglecting the strong natural, social and cultural link between the listed areas, their surroundings and other serial geosites. The paper introduces a five-step study on selected examples of Geoparks and geosites in Italy, Japan and Tunisia, sometimes also including areas inscribed in the UNESCO list as cultural sites, focusing on the possible role of UGGps as drivers for sustainable development of geotourism. The research considers the contextualization of UNESCO UGGps within a broader territorial scale, introducing the concept of Diffused Geopark as a new opportunity in protection and management practices and as a driver for local economies and internationalization of lesser-known contexts. Full article
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25 pages, 3905 KiB  
Article
ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnerships between UNESCO Global Geoparks, Schools, and Research Institutions: A Window of Opportunity for Geoheritage Enhancement and Geoscience Education
by Marco Giardino, Sophie Justice, Riitta Olsbo, Patrizia Balzarini, Alessandra Magagna, Cristina Viani, Ilaria Selvaggio, Mikko Kiuttu, Jouni Kauhanen, Marjaana Laukkanen and Luigi Perotti
Heritage 2022, 5(2), 677-701; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage5020038 - 30 Mar 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3105
Abstract
Since both the EU Erasmus+ program and UNESCO Global Geoparks aim at developing models of best practices, a shared playground for common activities can be found in high geodiversity and rich geoheritage areas to promote innovative education and professional perspectives in the ecological [...] Read more.
Since both the EU Erasmus+ program and UNESCO Global Geoparks aim at developing models of best practices, a shared playground for common activities can be found in high geodiversity and rich geoheritage areas to promote innovative education and professional perspectives in the ecological transition. Two consecutive Erasmus+ cooperative partnerships (GEOclimHOME and GEOclimHOME-PRO) involved schools, research institutions, and three European geoparks (Rokua, Finland; Sesia Val Grande, Italy; Chablais, France) for improved perception of climate and environmental changes and appraisal of geoheritage. The common pedagogical approach is presented in this review paper as well as the different methodological solutions for (1) understanding climate change and (2) recognising its natural and human factors, by environmental research and professional experiences. Activities were first addressed to explore the “secret” values of geoheritage for awareness on climate changes. Later, active/passive roles of humans toward the environment have been analysed, which are related to the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). Results of educational activities demonstrated enhanced students’ awareness of social and environmental responsibility. Moreover, the actions highlighted new job opportunities, accomplishing the local and global needs of sustainable development, future skills, and lifestyles within geopark territories. Full article
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16 pages, 45158 KiB  
Article
Tourism, Scientific, and Didactic Potential of the Ultrabasic-Alkaline Intrusion in Afrikanda with Perovskite Mineral (Kola Peninsula, N Russia) and of the Related Built Heritage
by Miłosz Huber and Olga Iakovleva
Heritage 2021, 4(4), 3892-3907; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040213 - 22 Oct 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2434
Abstract
The present article is an example of research on the tourism, scientific, and teaching potential of the ultrabasic-alkaline intrusion with perovskite minerals in Afrikanda (Kola Peninsula, North Russia) and the possibility of its development as part of a local geopark site. A proposal [...] Read more.
The present article is an example of research on the tourism, scientific, and teaching potential of the ultrabasic-alkaline intrusion with perovskite minerals in Afrikanda (Kola Peninsula, North Russia) and the possibility of its development as part of a local geopark site. A proposal to create a protected zone in this site, to expose sites of geological, natural, historical, and tourist interest is presented. Didactic routes and locations of geo-point visitors are proposed. Currently, there are numerous quarries and other mining objects of high historical, technical, and geological value. In the vicinity, there is a trough lake and post-glacial formations that can supplement knowledge about this region and add interest to would-be visitors. The remains of a historical camp for workers and miners are also visible in the intrusion area. In the vicinity of Afrikanda village, there is an international railroad line to Murmansk and St. Petersburg with a working railroad station. The place has high historical and geological potential for tourists and very rare and interesting mineralization. The last is a key value. The location is associated with 30 alkaline intrusions in NE Fennoskandia. There are opportunities to create a museum with a park where, with relatively little funding (most of the existing infrastructure buildings are in good condition), the intrusions can be shown to tourists. We proposed a conservation area with exposures, quarries, mine infrastructure, and historical sites, along with the location of geosites, hiking trails, and a geo-point for visitors. These sites are prospective for the economic revival of Afrikanda village and can protect the unique exposures. Full article
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28 pages, 6168 KiB  
Article
Geoheritage of the Monchegorsk Igneous Layered Paleoproterozoic Intrusion (Kola Peninsula, Arctic Russia): Evaluation and Geotourism Opportunities
by Miłosz Huber, Galina Zhigunova, Maria Menshakova, Olga Iakovleva and Maria Karimova
Heritage 2021, 4(4), 3583-3610; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040198 - 18 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2859
Abstract
Monchegorsk is an intrusion complex of basic and ultrabasic rocks of the Paleoproterozoic age. This complex formed during active magmatic mobility that took place in NE Scandinavia 2.5 Ga years ago. These were the subject of intensive exploration and exploitation at the beginning [...] Read more.
Monchegorsk is an intrusion complex of basic and ultrabasic rocks of the Paleoproterozoic age. This complex formed during active magmatic mobility that took place in NE Scandinavia 2.5 Ga years ago. These were the subject of intensive exploration and exploitation at the beginning of the 20th century, the latter carrying on through to the beginning of the 21st century. This contributed to the creation of some different forms of post-industrail mining infrastructure in the area. Many mining settlements, including Monchegorsk, mining plants, adits and quarries were established during this time, the relics of which are still present today. The Monchegorsk intrusions complex is formed by several fragmented massifs: Traviannaya, Kumuzhia, Nittis, Sopcha, Nyud, Poaz, and Monchetundra, the highest elevations of which reach up to 1000 m above sea level. These massifs form a landscape of “islands” and mountain ranges that have influence upon the regional landscape over several tens of kilometers. Their geography is characterized by numerous reliefs, glacial cirques, rocky thresholds with waterfalls and trough lakes. The potential of this region lies in the heritage of historical exploitation, numerous monuments of which have been preserved to this day. An important value is a landscape resulting from the relief of these mountains, highlighted by glacial activity in the Pleistocene. There are also interesting examples of Arctic fauna and flora, and of the rocks that form the bedrock in this intrusion. Some of the mineralization of these outcroppings can also be admired in the collections of the local museum that serves as a geocenter. The possibility of admiring relatively easily accessible views (the international route St. Petersburg–Murmansk–Kirkenes passes through the middle of the hills) and the interesting geology of the area abounding in rocks of mineralogical significance, their exposures, and history, along with the possibility of observing various post-industrail forms, make this area of great tourist potential. This article describes the most interesting exposures of outstanding tourist value and proposes routes connecting these points. It also discusses the problem of securing these exposures and the necessary tourist infrastructure, which is currently lacking. Full article
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20 pages, 2395 KiB  
Article
Teaching Geoheritage Values: Implementation and Thematic Analysis Evaluation of a Synchronous Online Educational Approach
by Efthymios Georgousis, Maria Savelidi, Socrates Savelides, Maximos-Vasileios Holokolos and Hara Drinia
Heritage 2021, 4(4), 3523-3542; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040195 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2456
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to present the results of an environmental education program on “Storm-Tossed Sea Rocks in Pelion Seaside” designed for junior high school students and implemented as a synchronous online educational approach and with a main goal to empower [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article is to present the results of an environmental education program on “Storm-Tossed Sea Rocks in Pelion Seaside” designed for junior high school students and implemented as a synchronous online educational approach and with a main goal to empower students to the values of geoheritage. In order to examine the effectiveness of the program and in particular the achievement of the objectives that encourage the development of values, the research question was identified as to whether the implementation of the environmental program achieved the empowerment of students in geoheritage values. In order to answer this question, we implemented a rather unusual technique to evaluate the educational procedure, which was based on the qualitative research technique of thematic analysis. This technique was selected as the most appropriate in order to “mine” conceptual patterns, the analysis of which would, in a valid, reliable, and simultaneously easy to use and quick way, inform the teachers that the values of geoheritage were disseminated to the students through the program. Thus, four-question interviews were conducted with randomly selected students who participated in the program. The data were examined and conceptual patterns were identified which were classified in eighteen codes. The codes were divided into five categories, the analysis of which led to the answer to the research question. Thus, it was found that the implementation of the environmental program achieved the empowerment of students in geocultural heritage values. The development of feelings of environmental sensitivity has also been seen, which suggests further investigation is needed. It was concluded that for the students, the given educational approach was necessary as well as cognitively, pedagogically, and emotionally beneficial; therefore, the need to enrich the curricula of environmental education/education for sustainable development with issues of geodiversity and geocultural heritage is justified. Finally, what was ascertained is that the thematic-analysis-based evaluation technique of the educational procedure, which was implemented, provided the teachers with the requested information, and it is recommended as an evaluation technique of educational procedures which aim at empowering students on values—even for daily use in school. Full article
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21 pages, 4487 KiB  
Article
Kalymnos Island, SE Aegean Sea: From Fishing Sponges and Rock Climbing to Geotourism Perspective
by George Zafeiropoulos and Hara Drinia
Heritage 2021, 4(4), 3126-3146; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040175 - 5 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4279
Abstract
The island of Kalymnos, located in the Dodecanese island complex in the SE Aegean, is known for its sponge fishing but also for its world-famous climbing fields. Indeed, the island is considered the “Mecca” of climbers. Nevertheless, Kalymnos is characterized by moderate tourist [...] Read more.
The island of Kalymnos, located in the Dodecanese island complex in the SE Aegean, is known for its sponge fishing but also for its world-famous climbing fields. Indeed, the island is considered the “Mecca” of climbers. Nevertheless, Kalymnos is characterized by moderate tourist traffic and lack of tourism infrastructure. The planning and development of geotourism can be a driving force for the economic sustainability of the island. In this study, the possibility of developing the innovative and alternative form of geotourism on the island of Kalymnos is explored. Kalymnos is characterized by numerous caves and steep slopes which can be geotopes attractive to visitors. Six caverns and two climbing fields were analyzed as part of our investigation. For the quantitative assessment of the geosites three factors are considered: the potential educational use (PEU), the potential touristic use (PTU), and the degradation risk (DR). The quantitative evaluation in combination with a SWOT analysis showed that there is indeed a possibility of promotion and development of geotourism in combination with the protection of the island’s geotopes. This will give additional impetus to the economy of Kalymnos. However, the lack of awareness from local authorities and residents is evident. The need for training in matters related to the geological heritage is necessary. In this way, there will be geotourism development, contributing positively to the economic prosperity and sustainability of the island. Full article
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11 pages, 958 KiB  
Communication
Geoheritage Meaning of Artificial Objects: Reporting Two New Examples from Russia
by Anna V. Mikhailenko, Dmitry A. Ruban and Vladimir A. Ermolaev
Heritage 2021, 4(4), 2721-2731; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4040153 - 27 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1526
Abstract
Geoheritage is not necessarily linked genetically to “purely” geological processes. Investigations in two urban areas of Russia allowed us to find essentially artificial objects demonstrating certain geological uniqueness. The huge balls sculptured from rapakivi granite and installed in Saint Petersburg represent cultural, historical, [...] Read more.
Geoheritage is not necessarily linked genetically to “purely” geological processes. Investigations in two urban areas of Russia allowed us to find essentially artificial objects demonstrating certain geological uniqueness. The huge balls sculptured from rapakivi granite and installed in Saint Petersburg represent cultural, historical, and stone heritage. These are also artificial megaclasts with perfect sphericity. The coal waste heaps situated in Shakhty and its vicinity represent industrial, historical, and urban heritage. These are also artificial landforms creating a kind of pseudo-mountainous landscape. These examples permit us to question the importance of the co-occurrence of heritage categories for geosite assessment. Full article
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20 pages, 3459 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of a Paleontological Museum as Geosite and Base for Geotourism. A Case Study
by Gricelda Herrera-Franco, Karla Erazo, Carlos Mora-Frank, Paúl Carrión-Mero and Edgar Berrezueta
Heritage 2021, 4(3), 1208-1227; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4030067 - 12 Jul 2021
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 3646
Abstract
The Santa Elena province in Ecuador has outstanding geological potential in petroleum, mining and geosite resources. All the wealth of palaeontological samples and their inherent link to the history of this territory require a recognised museum with educational and scientific material to support [...] Read more.
The Santa Elena province in Ecuador has outstanding geological potential in petroleum, mining and geosite resources. All the wealth of palaeontological samples and their inherent link to the history of this territory require a recognised museum with educational and scientific material to support the potential and promotion of geotourism development. The Megatherium Palaeontological Museum is located in this province and was the first Palaeontological Museum in Ecuador. It exhibits samples corresponding to the Late Pleistocene Megafauna that inhabited the area. This study aims to evaluate the museum (a geoheritage element) as a possible (palaeontological) geosite by analysing its contributions to the geoheritage of the Santa Elena province. Thus, we also aim to enhance the geotourism of the area and promote its collections as a geotouristic attraction. The methodological process was based on: (i) information processing and systematisation in the museum and its environment; (ii) assessment of the museum’s geological interest through the method of the Geological Survey of Spain, the Brilha method and the Geosites Assessment Model; and (iii) a qualitative evaluation using the Delphi and the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats methodologies to define strategies and proposals for museum development. Based on the results of the applied quantitative assessment, the museum has a “very high” (277/400) degree of geological interest, due to the high values of scientific (310/400), academic (310/400) and touristic (210/400) interest. In this same way, the results obtained through the Brilha method reflect a high scientific (290/400), educational (280/400), and tourist (315/400) interest and a low degradation risk (190/400) value in the museum. Furthermore, the applied Geosites Assessment Model shows the museum as a geosite with high main and additional values, placing it between the Z23 and Z33 fields of the global valuation matrix. The evaluation approached through Delphi analysis and Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats matrix allowed us to propose improvement strategies to take advantage of the museum resources as an alternative that strengthens the geotouristic development of the area. Full article
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12 pages, 1863 KiB  
Article
Accessibility of Geoheritage Sites—A Methodological Proposal
by Anna V. Mikhailenko, Dmitry A. Ruban and Vladimir A. Ermolaev
Heritage 2021, 4(3), 1080-1091; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4030060 - 27 Jun 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 2498
Abstract
Accessibility is an important property of geoheritage sites (geosites), which is commonly considered in their assessment. A new method, which refers partly to previous developments, is proposed to assess this property semiquantitatively. Inner (on-site) and outer accessibility are distinguished, and each is measured [...] Read more.
Accessibility is an important property of geoheritage sites (geosites), which is commonly considered in their assessment. A new method, which refers partly to previous developments, is proposed to assess this property semiquantitatively. Inner (on-site) and outer accessibility are distinguished, and each is measured depending on the opportunities to reach unique geological features. Distant visibility and entrance fees/required permissions are also taken into account. On the basis of the scores, three grades of geosite accessibility (excellent, moderate, and low) are delineated. The proposed method is applied to 15 geosites of Mountainous Adygeya (southwestern Russia), and the outcomes prove its efficacy. This application also helps to establish within-site and territorial spatial heterogeneity of geosite accessibility and to propose some managerial implications. Full article
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11 pages, 1008 KiB  
Communication
Real and Promoted Aesthetic Properties of Geosites: New Empirical Evidence from SW Russia
by Dmitry A. Ruban and Natalia N. Yashalova
Heritage 2021, 4(1), 160-170; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4010009 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2309
Abstract
Aesthetic properties of natural heritage objects are determined by their physical properties. Online promotion of these objects to potential tourists requires adequate representation of these properties on web pages. The Shum waterfall is a small, but notable and tourism-important geosite of southwestern Russia. [...] Read more.
Aesthetic properties of natural heritage objects are determined by their physical properties. Online promotion of these objects to potential tourists requires adequate representation of these properties on web pages. The Shum waterfall is a small, but notable and tourism-important geosite of southwestern Russia. Its real aesthetic properties were examined in the field, and 20 web pages devoted to local tourism were examined to judge its promoted aesthetic properties. Eleven criteria of the common tourists’ judgments of beauty were used for this purpose. A significant discrepancy between the real and promoted properties is found. Particularly, the web pages exaggerate the scale of the waterfall and do not mention crowds of tourists. This may cause disappointment of the latter. The findings of the present study allow for making several practical recommendations for more efficient promotion of the Shum waterfall, as well as providing general advice to the geotourism industry. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

22 pages, 5866 KiB  
Review
Granite Landscapes, Geodiversity and Geoheritage—Global Context
by Piotr Migoń
Heritage 2021, 4(1), 198-219; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4010012 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 7058
Abstract
Granite geomorphological sceneries are important components of global geoheritage, but international awareness of their significance seems insufficient. Based on existing literature, ten distinctive types of relief are identified, along with several sub-types, and an overview of medium-size and minor landforms characteristic for granite [...] Read more.
Granite geomorphological sceneries are important components of global geoheritage, but international awareness of their significance seems insufficient. Based on existing literature, ten distinctive types of relief are identified, along with several sub-types, and an overview of medium-size and minor landforms characteristic for granite terrains is provided. Collectively, they tell stories about landscape evolution and environmental changes over geological timescale, having also considerable aesthetic values in many cases. Nevertheless, representation of granite landscapes and landforms on the UNESCO World Heritage List and within the UNESCO Global Geopark network is relatively scarce and only a few properties have been awarded World Heritage status in recognition of their scientific value or unique scenery. Much more often, reasons for inscription resided elsewhere, in biodiversity or cultural heritage values, despite very high geomorphological significance. To facilitate future global comparative analysis a framework is proposed that can be used for this purpose. Full article
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