The Potential of Permanent Gullies in Europe as Geomorphosites

Zglobicki W.; Poesen J.; Cohen M.; Del Monte M.; Garcia-Ruiz J.M.; Ionita I.; Niacsu L.; Machova Z.; Martin-Duque J.F.; Nadal-Romero E.; Pica A.; Rey F.; Sole-Benet A.; Stankoviansky M.; Stolz C.; Torri D.; Soms J.; Vergari F., 2017, The Potential of Permanent Gullies in Europe as Geomorphosites, Geoheritage (Berl., Print) (2017): 1–23. doi_10.1007/s12371-017-0252-1,

Geotourism is a useful way to educate societies in the field of geomorphology and related natural hazards. Geosites, including geomorphosites, represent the basis for the development of this type of tourism. This study describes 12 representative gully regions within nine European countries. The characteristics of 42 permanent gullies, gully systems, and badland landscapes are presented. Based on scientific values of the sites, educational lessons to be learned were identified that are mainly related to (i) gullies as a geological window, (ii) present-day geomorphological processes and (iii) stages of historical gully erosion reflecting past human-environment interactions. To evaluate possible education activities, a geotouristic assessment of the studied gullies and badlands was made, based on scientific, educational, functional and touristic indicators. This assessment demonstrates a large difference between the selected gully and badland sites, particularly with regard to functional and tourist values. The geotouristic potential of gullies (badlands) is the highest in Italy and Spain and the lowest in Romania and Latvia. In some countries, permanent gullies are not regarded as geotouristic attractions at all, while in others, they constitute a significant element of their tourism development strategy. In our opinion, all activities must be part of a broader strategy for the development of geotourism in gully and badland regions, for example, gullies may be included as geosites within existing or planned geoparks.

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