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Geoheritage

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 177–193 | Cite as

Quantitative Assessment of Geotopes as an Effective Tool for Geoheritage Management

  • Charalampos Fassoulas
  • Dimitra Mouriki
  • Panagiotis Dimitriou-Nikolakis
  • George Iliopoulos
Original Article

Abstract

A quantitative methodology for the assessment of geotopes that can be used for the sustainable management and conservation of the geological heritage of an area is here presented. As sustainable development, education and conservation are core issues for the successful management of any protected area, this study focuses on the development of specific indexes necessary for determining values concerning the tourism, educational and protection requirements of geotopes. The proposed methodology is based on a series of criteria that cover not only the geological and geographical importance of a geotope but also its scientific, ecological, cultural, aesthetic and economic significance. Based on these criteria, the resulting scientific, ecological, cultural, aesthetic, economic and potential for use scores of each geotope are used to estimate, respectively, the touristic, educational and protection-need value indexes for each geotope on a scale ranging from 1 to 10. This methodology was implemented and tested in two areas in the island of Crete, namely the Psiloritis Natural Park, a European and Global geopark, and the Lassithi Mountains, producing reliable results, which are in agreement with the geopark’s activities and values. The proposed quantitative assessment method is, therefore, a useful tool. It serves the requirements for the adequate management and protection of geoheritage within a territory as it can reveal priorities for sustainable tourism development, including geotourism and educational tourism activities and the conservation of geotopes.

Keywords

Geotopes Geoparks Geoheritage Assessment Geoconservation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr Tony Ramsay, Cardiff University, for reading the text and for making useful suggestions, the GIS lab of Natural History Museum of Crete (M. Nikolakakis) for preparing the maps, as well as the Hellenic Institute for Speleological Research for providing speleological information. M. Pitikakis, G. Afordakos and M. Kritsotakis kindly offered useful information regarding Lassithi geotopes. Finally, two anonymous reviewers are also thanked for their critical comments and suggestions that improved this article, as well as the English editor for his suggestions.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charalampos Fassoulas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dimitra Mouriki
    • 3
  • Panagiotis Dimitriou-Nikolakis
    • 3
  • George Iliopoulos
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.RethimnoGreece
  2. 2.Natural History Museum of CreteUniversity of CreteHeraklionGreece
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of CreteHeraklionGreece
  4. 4.Department of GeologyUniversity of PatrasRio PatraGreece

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