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

Cultural heritage as geoheritage at the Caminhos dos Cânions do Sul Geopark, Southern Brazil

Jairo Valdati, Maria Carolina Villaça Gomes, Yasmim Rizzolli Fontana dos Santos, and Thales Vargas Furtado
Jairo Valdati et al.
  • UDESC, FAED, DGEO, Brazil (mcarolvg@yahoo.com.br)

In recent years, the geoheritage has gained relevance and prominence in academic research in Brazil.  Studies on geological/geomorphological diversity as an element of geoheritage are materialiazed in the several proposals of new geoparks made to UNESCO; however, the geoheritage as a cultural asset still requires closer attention. The goal of this study is to value terrain elements as geoheritage for their cultural importance in the territory of the Caminhos dos Cânions do Sul Geopark (CCSG). The CCSG is located in the South of Brazil and has as geoheritage elements of the terrain that stand out internationally, such as the canyons, inserted in the escarpments of the edge of the plateau.  This compartment, with approximately 1000 meters in height, divides the poorly dissected plateau from the flood plain, forming a landscape of unique scenic value in the Brazilian territory. The terrain was a fundamental element for the human occupation of this region, from the indigenous peoples to the colonial occupation. These three compartments, plateau, escarpments and plain, served as the basis for different human activities and cultures. The plateau, with its hills covered with steppe fields, served as the basis for the characteristic "gaúcho" culture, linked to cattle raising. In this unit, the stone walls that were used to contain the cattle, built with rocks of the local lithology, the volcanic rocks of the Serra Geral Group, are noteworthy. The plain, covered by the Ombrophylous Forest, was occupied with agricultural production. This compartment is formed mainly by alluvial fan-shaped deposits, with small elevations called lobules. These are used for subsistence agriculture, while the lower, wetter areas are used for commercial rice cultivation. Between these two compartments, plateau and plain, lies the edge of the plateau, with steep terrain and canyon-shaped valleys. This unit is what gives the landscape its uniqueness and is considered as a geopatrimonial site of international relevance. These terrain units, well defined as geomorphological compartments and forms of human occupation, are currently unique elements in the CCSG. However, in the past, the escarpments were obstacles for the connection of the culture of the plateau and the lowland culture. This connection was made by trails that allowed the exchange of products for subsistence of the people in the two geomorphological compartments. These trails were traced, prior to settlement, by local indigenous peoples. Later, these paths were used as an access route for the transport of cargo from mules, carried out by people called "tropeiros". These were specialized in the transport of food and animals along the paths that cut through the escarpments of the plateau. These paths are currently used as ecotourism trails, since the "tropeirismo" no longer exists as a commercial activity.  The geomorphological compartments, plateau, escarpment and plain, with characteristic terrain forms and distinct cultures, add the cultural importance that needs to be valued as geoheritage of the CCSG.

How to cite: Valdati, J., Villaça Gomes, M. C., Rizzolli Fontana dos Santos, Y., and Vargas Furtado, T.: Cultural heritage as geoheritage at the Caminhos dos Cânions do Sul Geopark, Southern Brazil, 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-682, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-682, 2022.