10th International Conference on Geomorphology
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Geotourism on trails located in Protected Areas in Southeastern Brazil

Luana Rangel, Maria do Carmo Jorge, and Antonio Guerra
Luana Rangel et al.
  • Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Geosciences Institute, Geography, Brazil

Geotourism is a branch of tourism which aims to value and encourage the conservation of geological and geomorphological heritage (Dowling, 2013, Lopes et al., 2011, Gray, 2013; Brilha, 2016; Jorge; Guerra, 2016; Rangel et al, 2021) that is growing in Brazil mainly in Protected Areas, where trails are used by both visitors and local people to access geotourist attractions. Trail mismanagement can cause soil degradation. The planning and management of trails using geodiversity, geotourism and geoconservation concepts have grown in recent decades (Gray, 2013; Conway, 2010; Jorge; Guerra, 2016; Rangel et al 2019). Therefore, this research aims to analyze the importance of trails for the development of geotourism in protected areas. Two Protected Areas (PAs) were selected from the ‘Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve,’ which is the first Brazilian unit within the ‘World Biosphere Reserves Network’. The two PAs are situated in an area of great touristic  appeal, especially for coastal attractions. They have two different administrations, Federal (Serra da Bocaina National Park - SBNP), and State (Serra do Mar State Park - SMSP). This research investigated two geotourist trails: Caixa D´Aço natural pool (CANP) trail in Serra da Bocaina National Park (State of Rio de Janeiro) and Água Branca waterfall (ABW) trail in Serra do Mar State Park (State of São Paulo State). Geotourism potential analysis was conducted via infrastructure surveys (e.g. the presence of steps, guardrails, handrails, rubbish bins and signboards) and interpretative features (explanatory posters, folders and field guides) along the trails and in the geodiversity sites area (Moreira, 2010). The relative strengths and weaknesses of geotourism development were evaluated. Geodiversity values were measured based on ecosystem services (Gray, 2005). These values include: intrinsic, cultural, aesthetic, economic, functional and scientific/educational (Gray, 2013). The trails are being damaged by the impacts of trampling and erosion at the edge of paths. This edge erosion poses risks of slipping and accidents for visitors. Geodiversity values were very similar at the two study areas, being different only for Economic and Scientific/Educational values. This is related to the higher economic value of CANP, because the local caiçara population is responsible for the boat crossings to the geodiversity site. Água Branca waterfall is situated on a fault scarp, and therefore, its scientific and educational values are high. The importance and uniqueness of Serra do Mar are related to multiple attributes, making it one of the world’s most important tropical scarps (Ab’Saber 1986). Scientific and educational values were medium for CANP, since it is possible to observe chemical weathering processes. Both trails have high intrinsic, esthetic and cultural values, since it is a major tourist attraction. The functionality was estimated as medium considering the role of CANP and ABW in local ecosystem maintenance. It is concluded that it is important to recognize the geological and geomorphological heritage of both protected areas.  Therefore, it is recommended that site managers identify and map geoheritage sites and disseminate information and it is necessary to recover degraded areas of both trails.

How to cite: Rangel, L., Jorge, M. D. C., and Guerra, A.: Geotourism on trails located in Protected Areas in Southeastern Brazil, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-17, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-17, 2022.