Bodoquena Geoparque

Geopark creation intent to Serra da Bodoquena and Pantanal is presented at the 3rd International UNESCO Conference on Geoparks (Germany).

The concept of geopark by UNESCO, is still new, but already has made possible the establishment of strengthened networks, such as Europe and Asia, due to the rapid growth of the new areas of use mode with relevant geological and geomorphological interest.

A geopark is an enclosed area that has geological and paleontological attributes of interest for understanding the evolution of the Earth. Add to the visitation of these points, cultural values ​​in order to provide the social development of these regions and generate interest for more rational use of natural resources.

The mode of Geopark was not foreseen in the law that regulates the creation of conservation units in Brazil to be the SNUG – National System of Conservation Units, but the Geological Survey of Brazil has been encouraging its creation.

The geopark figure resembles more a geological script visiting an area, with the main objective of disseminating knowledge about the geology of a region. We have in Brazil some successful initiatives in this direction, as the Geological Pathways Resource Division Minerals in Rio de Janeiro, the parks Varvite and Rock Moutonnée in Itu and Salto (SP), some parks in Paraná and the Royal Road of Minas Gerais . In the latter mode, the historical values ​​is that they are stressed, but is a good example of how an integrated project is promoting tourism in the region.

In Europe they have been created over 50 geoparks and Asia as much. In Australia there are some in Brazil and only one – the Geopark Araripe, which has been recognized by UNESCO in 2006.

A geopark can be created independent of the UNESCO recognition, but are clear advantages to obtain this recognition, the geopark is replaced by an international interest.

The concept of geopark is still not widespread in Brazil and the Americas, even in the geoscience community. A growing interest and need for dissemination of geosciences and its realization through the geoparks becomes an interesting strategy to be built in Brazil.

The creation of the first geopark in Chapara Araripe was an initiative of the Ceará State Government carried out by teachers of the Regional University of Cariri (URCA) with the fundamental support of Prof. Gero Hillmer, University of Hamburg (Germany), who first brought the concept of geopark to Brazil in 2004. With the creation of this first geopark is that began the spread of this new concept in Brazil.

There are numerous possibilities of geoparks in Brazil, for this, we have significant work of SIGEP – Brazilian Commission of Geological and Paleontological Sites, consisting of institutions linked to the mineral, geological sector, heritage and environment, universities and scientific associations. This commission has since 1997 raising the geological and paleontological potential of Brazil and disseminating it through publications available on its website (www.unb.br/ig/sigep/). It can be said that this initiative is the embryo of the creation of geoparks in Brazil.

Geoparks creation proposals in Brazil are in process in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul (Geopark Bodoquena Range – Pantanal), Minas Gerais (Geopark Quadrangle), Paraná (Geopark Campos Gerais), Rio de Janeiro (Geopark Búzios) but there are countless others to create.

At the initiative of IPHAN – Brazilian Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage, was initiated the process of creating the Geopark Bodoquena Range Pantanal, which the original proposal was presented at the 3rd UNESCO International Conference on Geoparks, which took place between 22 and 26 June 2008 in Osnabrock (Germany). The proposal was presented at the meeting of “aspiring Geoparks of UNESCO”, with presentation of very preliminary work even geoparks already well-structured and frank tourist visitation.

They were presented about 35 works only related to geoparks interested in obtaining recognition from UNESCO, and the presentations of Brazil, for geoparks Serra da Bodoquena Pantanal (MS) and General Courses (PR), were well received and impressed by wealth of geological and paleontological information and diversity of landscapes and associated cultures.

Participation in the conference was of fundamental importance for a better understanding of the concept of Geopark and the reason for the great abundance of this type worldwide. The Brazil found itself well represented, with fifteen Brazilians, most of the Government of Ceará’s entourage, which included including the participation of the Deputy Governor Prof. Francisco Pinheiro. There was a proposal from Brazil to host the next meeting of the UNESCO global geoparks network in 2010, which ended up to Malaysia. But Brazil came out with a good proposal, UNESCO representatives asked for in Brazil become organized the inaugural meeting of a possible Geoparks Network of the Americas in 2009.

It was clear, in that project, the concept of geopark is to be an important land management tool and articulation between the different types of protected areas and tourism projects in a region, in line with other economic activities, especially mining. Clearly, the creation of a geopark is not “mess up” economic development, but allow your better planning with remarkable benefits for tourism activities, after all, what tourist region would not like to receive UNESCO recognition and come to presented as belonging to a worldwide network of geoparks?

Interestingly, the concept of geopark is aggregator, allows to include any interested party, whether individual or institutional. What worries, however, is in need of a good team, not only in the creation process, but in its implementation and structuring. As commented at the end of the conference a geopark does not need money, but people, and people with good ideas as good ideas attract financing.

We left the event excited, more convinced of the benefits that a geopark can bring to the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and Brazil as a whole but worried. Concerned about the future constitution of the Geopark team and defining their style of management. Mount the application to be submitted to UNESCO for seeking international recognition, it is not difficult, even more against the geological and paleontological potential of Serra da Bodoquena, Massif Annatto and Pantanal, but despite the proposal of outreach work was not also raise awareness about the importance of having a well-structured multidisciplinary team work and can work independently and with prospect of future continuity.

There is in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul an interesting structure management and research funding that is FUNDECT, which functions as state foundation to support research, which also obtained federal funds to support research projects, although today never get total funds provided by law, resulting from the state collection.

Despite the few resources available, FUNDECT solidified and gained the respect and confidence of the scientific community of Mato Grosso do Sul, mainly due to its autonomy. This foundation is managed by three directors (a president, a scientific and administrative) that are chosen by the Governor through triple stripes arranged by its governing board. Directors serve for three years and remain in office even after government changes. And this experience could prove to be extended to structure the future geopark of Mato Grosso do Sul.

There is much to be done and the process is just beginning, but it is an important advance find out more about the proposed geopark, after all, if not good, were not being created so many geoparks across the globe.

Paulo César Boggiani (Professor of Geosciences Institute – USP), attended the event with support from FAPESP – Support Foundation of São Paulo Research (Proc 08 / 03642-5.). Text originally presented in Bonito Portal (www.portalbonito.com.br) on 27/06/2008.

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Paulo César Boggiani

Geologist graduated with a PhD from the University of São Paulo, was a professor at the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul and Scientific Director of FUNDECT. – Foundation for the Support of Science and Technology of Mato Grosso do Sul is currently a professor in the Department of Sedimentary Geology and Environmental the Institute of Geosciences at USP. It was the coordinator of the first training course Beautiful tour guides.

 Fonte: Portal Bonito