Global Network of National Geoparks

Protection of geotops in psiloritis geopark, crete, greece:Assessing geological heritage

Published :September 22, 2006

C. Fasscoulas1,2 & z. Skoula1,3

1Psiloritis Natural Park, Anogia 74051, Rethimno, Crete, Greece

2Natural history museum, university of crete, heraklion 71409, crete, greece

3Dept. of appliect mathematics, University of crete, Heraklion, 71409, crete, greece

Keywords: Geotops, geological heritage, protection, assessment , Crete

The necessary prerequisite for any protective effort is the understanding and recognition of the value of items. In most cases recognition of nature’s value is referred only to living environment, while abiotic nature is not considered at all. In order to protect geological heritage, under a very weak legal environment, Psiloritis Natural Park has evaluated 30 well-known geotops based on methodologies and formulas of the international literature. Individual geotops of the park were at first classified in several categories according to their nature. These comprise of landscape sceneries, functional landscapes, rock types, fossil sites, geologica structures, water appearances, or individual-composite outcrops. The geotops were then assessed for their value in respect to their contribution to the aesthetic appeal, culture, economy, research-education and functioning for humanity of the territory. Following these results, each geotop was evaluated in respect to its importance to the wider community considering its rarity, value and aesthetic appearance. The last stage of this evaluation considered the possible uses of these geotops in order to achieve a sustainable local development. As education and geotourism are the main development tools of a geopark, the geotops were finally evaluated for their capability to support educational or/and touristic purposes. Summarising, the evaluation of Psiloritis Geopark has revealed that geotops mainly refer to geological structures, landscapes, rock types and fossil sites. Most of these have important research/educational and aesthetic value, whereas several other cultural or functioning value. In many cases more than one type of value has been recognized. Four geotops are of global importance; the Aloides- Sisses section, Fodele fossil site, the Idaion Andron cave and the Agios Fanourios fault, five other are of national importance and the rest of regional or local. The majority of the geotops can serve for touristic and educational purposes.