Global Network of National Geoparks

Geoconservation, promotion and management of geosites on lesvos island: the lesvos petrified forest-

Published :March 7, 2008

N. zouros1, E. velitzelos2, I.valiakos3, K.mpentana3, M.moliou3, K.mammis3&O.labakl3
Geography Department, University of the Aegean, Greece
2Department of Geology, University of Athens, Greece
3Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, GR-81112, Greece

Keywords: Geosites protection and promotion, geoconservation, Geopark management, GIS local development

The Petrified Forest of Lesvos covers an area of 15.000 ha and has been declared as Protected Natural Monument. It was developed during Late Oligocene to Lower-Middle Miocene, due to intense volcanic activity in the area.

In order to protect the Petrified Forest and ensure its proper management, serious efforts have been carried out during the last decades, including scientific research, excavations, fossil site protection and preservation activities and creation of several visiting parks in the main fossil sites.

The above elements comprise important parameters for the operation of the Lesvos Petrified Forest - European Geopark (LPF-EG), comprising the famous fossil sites with standing and lying petrified tree trunks of the Lesvos Petrified Forest as well as a variety of other important geosites (Volcanin, tectonic, stratigraphic and geomorphological). The LPF-EG includes the set up of a series of visiting parks on the important fossil sites, a network of walking trails linking sites of interest, creation of relevant information points and eco-tourism infrastructure as well as the organization of promotional activities, scientific and cultural events. It's environmental education activities include a set of educational programs for different education levels as well as education material, The LPF-EG organized a network of cooperating enterprises and women cooperatives promoting also local products and local tradition.

The management of the LPF-EG is based on an improved strategic plan focusing on the protection and promotion of the region's geodiversity as well as the utilization of a variety of other natural and cultural resources (sites of natural beauty and ecological value, impressive landscapes, cultural mounuments, picturesque villages, traditional gastronomy and local products). One of the main management tools of the Petrified Forest area is an advanced GIS system connected with a database containing all the adequate information. All geosites within the protected area are being recorded using a QuickBird image of the area and field measurements using GPS technology. The combination of the above mentioned technologies associated with field study and cartography enhance the feasibility and effectiveness of geoconservation of the LPF-EG.

Thus the LPF-EG and has become an effective tool for the evaluation and promotion of the Lesvos geo-heritage and a key factor for the sustainable economic and social local development.