10th International Conference on Geomorphology
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Heritage value and didactic potential of geomorphological landscapes: the case of eight sites in the Central High Atlas (Morocco)

Jonathan Bussard
Jonathan Bussard
  • Institute of Geography and Sustainability, University of Lausanne, Switzerland (jonathan.bussard@unil.ch)

The heritage recognition of geomorphological objects is the result of the awareness of their heritage interest by a certain number of stakeholders, beyond the restricted circle of geoscientists. The interpretation of geomorphology, which serves as an interface between the public and scientific knowledge, is therefore an important step in the process of heritage recognition of geomorphological objects. The reasons for considering certain landforms to be of heritage interest have been extensively discussed in the literature. Likewise, issues relating to the interpretation of geomorphological objects have been the subject of several publications, particularly in the field of geotourism research. On the other hand, the choice of sites with a certain didactic potential to develop interpretative products is rarely based on objective and formalised criteria. The terminology and definitions used in the literature to designate the characteristics of geomorphosites that facilitate the understanding of their heritage interest are indeed relatively disparate. However, a high didactic potential greatly facilitates the transmission of the message that the interpreter is trying to convey to his audience.

Geomorphological landscapes – defined as landscapes whose geomorphological component is of heritage interest – are interesting supports for the dissemination of scientific knowledge in geomorphology. Their didactic potential can be defined, as suggested in the literature, in terms of readability and representativeness of their forms and processes, and also according to their usefulness as objects of interpretation. In this sense, the didactic potential indicates the degree of relevance or ease with which the site can be integrated in an interpretation process relating to one or more defined topics.

To illustrate these theoretical remarks, we propose to describe the didactic potential of eight geomorphological landscapes located in the M’Goun Geopark (Central High Atlas, Morocco), which are of high scientific interest and which could be used for the development of geotourism. The didactic potential is described on the basis of a selection of topics (structural geomorphology, landscape transformations during the Quaternary, records of past climates, role of regressive erosion, alluvial dynamics, karstic landscapes) that can be addressed around the chosen site. The didactic potential is then described for each of the identified themes according to two criteria: visibility (clear view of the object) and level of complexity (number of objects, complexity of processes). The description of these criteria allows the managers of the sites to build an interpretation plan based on a coherent selection of sites and topics adapted to the target audience.

How to cite: Bussard, J.: Heritage value and didactic potential of geomorphological landscapes: the case of eight sites in the Central High Atlas (Morocco), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-549, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-549, 2022.