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Suitability of valleys of Cantabria area for a UGGp proposal

Abstract: UNESCO-designated geoparks, intended for conservation, seek to drive economic development via geological heritage education and tourism. Since 2018, within the framework of the European project Atlantic Geoparks (Interreg Atlantic area program), the Valleys of Cantabria project has been promoted to declare a UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGp) in the Cantabria region (northern Spain). The Valles de Cantabria proposal, aligning with UNESCO objectives, evaluates the region´s geopark potential, emphasizing sustainable development and societal education. Covering 600 km2 in eastern Cantabria, the territory involves 19 municipalities and has a population of 60,600. The geological context, ranging from the Triassic to the Quaternary periods, reflects the complex evolution of this territory, which has been influenced by tectonic forces, geomorphological processes, and sea-level changes. Detailed reviews and fieldwork performed by experts, including university researchers, have identified 66 sites of geological interest (SGI). The geosites, which have different geological?geomorphological significances, have been assessed according to their scientific value (including educational importance), potential of use (mainly geotouristic use), and vulnerability or risk of degradation. The geological heritage is directly related to the high biodiversity of the area. The challenges of this territory, such as depopulation and the low income of the inhabitants, can be improved with the declaration of a geopark, which would help to create new job opportunities related to geotourism and sustainable development. UNESCO recognition could catalyse scientific research, address socioeconomic challenges, and foster rural revitalization, strengthening the symbiotic relationship between geoconservation and local economic growth. Collaboration with other Atlantic geoparks has enabled the exchange of experiences that will hopefully deepen in the future. Consequently, the aim of this work is to explore the potential of this territory in terms of high-quality geological features and biological and cultural heritage, as well as to evaluate the socioeconomic context that makes the territory potentially suitable for promoting a UGGp.

 Autoría: Bonachea J., González-Díez A., Hernández-Blanco J., Remondo J., Rivas V.,

 Fuente: Land, 2023, 12(12), 2177

 Fecha de publicación: 17/12/2023

Nº de páginas: 23

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.3390/land12122177

ISSN: 2073-445X

Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.3390/land12122177