Global Network of National Geoparks

Protecting geological heritage in the Belgian province of Limburg: From information and education to

Published :April 21, 2008
R. Dreesen
Limburgse Koepel voor Natuurstudie, Groen Huis, Bokrijk, B-3600 Genk, Beigium and Flemish Institute for Technological Research, Boeretang 200, B-2400,Mol, Belgium

Keywords: Geo-conservation, public awareness, geo-education, Limburg, Belgium

Since 1996 there is an increasing public awareness of the importance of the geological heritage of Limburg (NE-Belgium). This is the result of the efforts of a small but enthusiastic group of volunteers, conducted by professional geologists within LIKONA (Limburgse Koepel voor Natuurstudie). Some major achievements include the publication of an atlas of natural building stones in the historical buildings of Limburg, the setting-up of geological walking tours in historical towns and the development aspects are being combined. Moreover, short training courses and thematic excursions on various aspects of the local geology are organized for a broader audience, on a regular base. Because of the lack of natural outcrops, sunken roads and abandoned extraction pits have been inventoried by the above group. As a result, a preliminary red list of endangered geo-sites and geo-objects in the province (international importance) of the above geosites, has triggered preservation measures for some of them, e.g. the Eocene marl pits with the Gelinden palaeoflora. Recently, the group has been involved in the conservation of an abandoned glass sand and gravel pit in the National Park Hoge Kempen: here, several geological features are particularly well exposed, including spectacular palaeosoils, ignites and fluvial gravel terraces. Huge boulders were selected from the latter gravel beds to from a geological rock garden: the boulders bear witness to the broad spectrum of geological formations in the upstream source areas of the Ardennes and Northern France.