Geomorphosites Working Group


Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar (photo: P. Coratza).

WG Chairs:

Dr. Paola Coratza

Modena (Italy)


Dr. Fabien Hobléa

Chambéry (France)


Dr. Lucie Kubalíková

Brno (Czech Republic)


Past Chairs:

Emmanuel REYNARD (Switzerland)

Introduction to WG activity

Since the 1990s, a growing interest for the heritage value of geology and geomorphology has been observed in several parts of the world, in relation to geoconservation, geotourism, and geopark issues. In this context, during the 5th International Conference on Geomorphology held in Tokyo in 2001, the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) decided to create a specific working group (WG) on Geomorphological Sites, with the aim to improve knowledge and scientific research on the definition, assessment, mapping, promotion and conservation of geomorphological heritage.

In the period 2001-2013 (report), the WG was chaired by Emmanuel Reynard and Paola Coratza, experiences have been shared during several workshops and international conferences, and results have been collected in several special publications. A paper published by the two chairmen (Reynard and Coratza, 2013) showed the improvements on geomorphological heritage studies made by the IAG during the last twelve years, under the impulsion of the WG on Geomorphosites.

During the 2013 IAG Conference helded in Paris, the IAG general assembly kindly accepted that the WG on Geomorphosites could continue its activities for a new 4-year period. Chair of the working group for the period 2013-2017 has been assumed by Paola Coratza (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy) and Fabien Hobléa (University of Savoie, France).

Scientific aims of the group

During the quadrenium 2013-2017, focus of the activities was put on the five following themes:

  • Focus on geomorphosites as key sites for environmental education (to sustainable development or climate change) for various publics (tourists, school children, in particular); in particular, we plan to develop specific tools on environmental issues based on particularly sensitive geomorphosites (e.g. in coastal, desert or mountain areas).
  • Development of specific activities in developing countries (geomorphosites as tools for local and regional development). During the first years of activity, the WG was mainly based in European countries. During the last years, we have received several demands from countries from other continents, in particular Asia, Africa and South-America. We plan to focus part of our activities in developing countries.
  • Development of teaching activities for advanced students (MSc, PhD), in particular in developing countries. We plan in particular to develop digital tools for university education. Such tools could be a good alternative to the book published in 2009, and not easily accessible in developing countries.
  • Concentration of part of the activity on urban geomorphosites, and in mountain areas. In particular, following the creation of the Network on Mountain Geomorphosites in October 2012, the plan is to focus some research on mountain ranges. A collaboration with the Mountain Research Initiative and the ISCAR (Alpine research) will be developed.
  • Development of specific research on geoheritage and geodiversity, in collaboration with the new Working Group on Landform Assessment for Geodiversity.

From 2018 until now, the main improvements of the WG were related to the following topics:

  • definition and conceptualisation of geomorphosites;
  • selection and evaluation of geomorphosites, in particular the issue of reducing subjectivity;
  • guidelines for geomorphosite mapping, in particular in the geotourism sector;
  • interpretation of geomorphological heritage, in particular the sensitive question of the adequacy of geoproducts with the public needs and previous knowledge;
  • conservation of geomorphological heritage.

Nevertheless, several questions have not been solved until now, and several issues should be addressed in the future:

  • dynamic aspect of geomorphosites: the influence of active geomorphological processes on the scientific value of the geomorphosites and on their tourist and educational potential;
  • degradation risk assessment: theoretical and methodological approaches for the identification and assessment of both natural and anthropic threats to geomorphological heritage;
  • social aspects of geomorphosites research: e.g. perception of geodiversity, citizen science projects, involving public, how geomorphosites promotion can meet UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Last WG Annual Reports:

Annual report 2023

Annual report 2019

Report period 2009-2013



EGU 2024, 14-19 April 2024, Vienna and Online.

The session GM5.5 “Geodiversity and geoheritage – toolsets for a more sustainable world” is co-organised by the Geomorphosites Working Groups of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) and ProGEO, the International Association for the Conservation of Geological Heritage.

The aim of this session is to provide a broad platform for studies dealing with geodiversity and geoheritage and to draw the scientific community’s attention to the importance and diversity hiding in this relatively new science field. The focus areas are the following:

  • geodiversity and geoheritage assessment methodologies and case studies,
  • geoconservation and geotourism management,
  • social and cultural connections to geodiversity and geoheritage,
  • interrelations between geodiversity, biodiversity, and climatic diversity,
  • the contribution of geodiversity and geoheritage to sustainable development.

More information here:


European Geosciences Union – General Assembly 2017 – EGU

Vienna, Austria, 23–28 April 2017


Geodiversity and Geoheritage (co-organized)

We wish to build on the very successful last five years of EGU meetings to address all aspects of geodiversity and geoheritage, including current methods of research and debate at all levels from the global to the local scale. In particular we invite PICO presentations and posters related to the following themes:

1) Definitions (principles, approaches, context)

2) Assessment (mapping, assessment, classification and quantification)

3) Case studies of geodiversity and/or geoheritage

4) Geo[morpho]sites, geomonuments and geo-hot-spots, especially in a context of sustainable land use

5) Integration with quarrying, mining and other industrial and infrastructural use of geoheritage and their effects on geodiversity

6) Geoparks and geoheritage conservation, management and promotion

7) Links and interactions between geoheritage and geodiversity, biodiversity and cultural diversity and heritage

8) Geotourism and geoheritage conservation, management and promotion, including educational aspects of geoheritage and geodiversity.


Abstract submission and full description of the session can be found at:

Deadline for abstract submission is January 11, 2017, 13:00 CET

International Conference Managing Mediterranean Mountain Geoheritage

Manteigas, Central Portugal, 6-7 May 2017.

The conference includes a full-day with oral and poster communications, and key-note lectures and one-day field trip in the Serra da Estrela Aspiring Geopark.

Oral and poster presentations on Mediterranean mountains on the following topics, are welcome:

– Geoheritage as a catalyser of scientific research;

– Advances in geoheritage: research and applications;

– Good practices on managing geoheritage;

– Innovation in mountain tourism and sustainability;

– Geotourism: success stories;

– Promoting endogenous products;

– Empowering women;

– Education and outreach in the geosciences.

Deadline for abstract submission is January 31, 2017


For more information, check:

Conference Communicating Geoparks: How local involvement makes a better tomorrow possible?

Inaugural conference of Taiwan International Geopark Symposium

Taipei, Taiwan, September 29-October 3, 2017


The purpose of this inaugural Taiwan International Geopark Symposium (TIGS) is to promote geoparks through a wide range of bottom-­‐up mechanism and processes. In particular oral presentations and posters related to the following themes, are welcome:

1. Geo-conservation and conservation techniques

2. Geo‐Hazards and hazard mitigation

3. Geo­‐education and interpretation programs

4. Geo­‐tourism, bringing policy in to practice

5. Geo­‐Communal endeavors and societal changes


Deadline for abstract submission is February 17, 2017

 1st Circular


-International Workshop on Urban Geomorphological Heritage

Sapienza University of Rome 27-29 October 2016

The human presence on the Earth increased as ever during the last two centuries and so the people migration from countryside to cities. This led to an intense urbanization of some areas, which were affected by important landscape transformation. Today’s landscape is the result of gradual changes, which had to be adapted on the earlier morphology. The analysis of historical changes can help understanding how transformations will develop in the future. The evolution of urban landscapes is also interesting from a cultural point of view, and  urban geomorphological heritage is often the base for the development of geotourism.

The workshop will focus on the following topics:

– geomorphological analysis in urban environment

– methodologies for the assessment and mapping of urban geomorphosites

– urban geotourism

– interpretation and popularization of urban geomorphosites

– relationships between cultural and geomorphological heritage in cities

– conservation of geoheritage and urban growth

– geoheritage and urban planning

Deadlines for abstract submission: 31 May 2016


1st Circular

– The 33rd International Geographical Congress – IGU Beijing, China,  21-25 August 2016.
sessionGeomorphology, Geomorphosites and Landscape
Chair of the session: Emmanuel Reynard (Switzerland), Jiun-Chuan Lin (Taiwan)
Geomorphosites – i.e. geomorphological sites of interest for the reconstruction of Earth history, that are worth to be protected, promoted and transmitted to the future generations – present some specific characteristics if compared with other types of geoheritage: they are often active site, evolving with time, they present often imbricated time and spatial scale components, and they are very often aesthetic sites, that have been considered as “natural monuments” by society, decision-makers and tourist sector. Addressing this landscape value of geomorphosites, and geomorphology in general, is the main focus of the proposed session. Communications and posters dealing with the following issues are particularly welcome:
– methodological papers (assessment and mapping) and case studies dealing with landscape component of geomorphosites and geomorphology;
– geomorphological processes and landscape evolution;
– landscape value of geomorphological sites and tourist promotion;
– geomorphology and cultural landscapes (in particular terraced farmland landscapes)


Abstract submission:
Abstracts sample is available for dowloading on

Deadline for abstract submission is 15 February 2016

– European Geosciences Union – General Assembly 2016 – EGU
Vienna, Austria, 17-22 April 2016
session: SSS3.6/EOS7 (co-organized)
Geoheritage and Geodiversity Matter: Themes, Links and Interactions
Keynote will be presented by Dr. Murray Gray: Geodiversity and Geoheritage: definitions, values and conservation.
This session is inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary. In particular we invite presentations and posters related to the following themes:
– methodological presentations (definitions, approaches, context),
– presentations of methods (mapping, assessment, classification and quantification),
– case studies of geodiversity, geoheritage, geo(morpho)sites and geomonuments, especially studies addressing a more sustainable land use,
– geoparks and geoheritage conservation, management and promotion,
– links and interactions between geoheritage and geodiversity, bio- and cultural diversity and heritage,
– geoparks, geotourism and geoheritage conservation, management and promotion,
– educational aspects of geoheritage and geodiversity.


Abstract submission and full description of the session can be found at: or in PDF file:

Deadline for call-for-papers is January 13, 2016, 13:00 CET

– The Laboratory for Geomorphological Mapping, Space, Environment and Dynamics organizes the Second International Conference:


Tozeur, 19-24 October 2015 – Tunisia

In collaboration with: Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts, AGT, FSHST, University of Tunis, CNR-IDPA Milano, G&T, International Association of Geomorphologists, CEAS GEOPARK, IAG Working Group on GEOMORPHOSITES, CDTOS and ASM Tozeur.

For more information visit the website

Intergeo – Digital platform on geomorphosites.

The working group on Geomorphosites of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) is active since 2001 and has developed research activities on issues related to the geomorphological heritage (geomorphosites). In parallel to the research activities, several intensive courses for Ph.D. and Master students have been organized since 2006 in various universities (Lausanne, Lesvos, Minho, Savoie, Beni Mellal) and a textbook for students was edited in 2009.

The platform INTERGEO is prepared as a way to disseminate knowledge on geomorphological heritage, in particular in universities of developing countries where access to scientific papers and textbooks is not easy. It aims at improving students’ autonomy by the reduction of frontal teaching and increasing autonomous learning as well as promoting international interactions between students interested in geomorphosite topics.

The course, developed with the Learning Management System Moodle, is a completely free-access course. It is divided into four parts: (1) Generalities – definitions, links with heritage and landscape studies, active geomorphosites, the IAG working group; (2) Methods – selection and assessment, mapping issues, geomorphosite visualization, technical and digital tools in geomorphosite studies; (3) Conservation and promotion – example of geomorphosite studies related to geoconservation, geoparks, protected areas, World Heritage Sites, geotourism and interpretation, and natural hazards; (4) Examples – cultural, karstic, coastal, mountainous, fluvial, volcanic and anthropogenic geomorphosites. Each chapter contains a short description, a list of references, selected publications, as well as other educational material, e.g. videos, virtual fieldtrips, etc. The content of the course will evolve and will be completed in the future.

The content is currently being prepared and will be tested by the six universities involved in the project during the academic year 2015–2016. Each university will use INTERGEO as a support for the specific courses on geoconservation and geomorphological heritage. Each team will then carry out fieldwork and will exchange on the results during a virtual international conference to be organized in Summer 2016 (the various teams will interact by video-conferences). The course will then be fully open-access by September 2016.


Emmanuel Reynard, Lucie Darbellay (University of Lausanne)

Nathalie Cayla and Fabien Hobléa (University Savoie Mont-Blanc)

Christian Giusti (University Paris IV)

Paola Coratza (University of Modena e Reggio Emilia)

Laura Comanescu and Florina Grecu (University of Bucharest)

Paulo Pereira (University of Minho)


EGU 2015, Vienna, April 12-17, 2015

Annual Report 2015


Annual report 2014

ForumAlpinum 2014
Darfo Boario Terme, Val Camonica (Italy), 17-19 September 2014

-International Workshop “Geomorphosites, lever of local socio-economic development. From European experiences to Maghrebian and African projects”
Beni Mellal (Morocco), 2 – 4 October 2014
Intensive Course “Geomorphosites. Definitions and methods of investigation”
Beni Mellal (Morocco), 1 October 2014

1st Circular


ghNathalie Cayla, Fabien Hobléa and Emmanuel Reynard (eds.). New Digital Technologies Applied to the Management of Geoheritage. Special issue of “Geoheritage”, 6(2), 2014

This issue of Geoheritage collects  a selection of articles derived from the intensive course dedicated to the use of digital technologies for geoheritage management held in the framework of the ISGM 2011.

Collection EDYTEM, n° 15, année 2013

Proceedings of the International Conference « Managing Geosites in Protected Areas », International Symposium on Geosites Management « ISGM 2011 », Savoie-Mont-Blanc, France, 7-10 September 2011
Edited by Fabien Hobléa, Nathalie Cayla, Emmanuel Reynard

ghReynard Emmanuel, Coratza Paola, Giusti Christian (eds.). Geomorphosites and geotourism. Special issue of the journal “Geoheritage”, 3(3), 2011

This issue of Geoheritage collects nine papers presented at the International symposium “Geomorphosites 2009: raising the profile of geomorphological heritage through iconography, inventory and promotion” (held in Paris in June 2009) and at the IAG International Conference on Geomorphology in Melbourne (July 2009) (session “Geomorphosites and Geotourism”). The papers focus on two issues: the assessment and mapping of geomorphological heritage and the management of geomorphosites in geotourism framework.

MappGeoh“Mapping Geoheritage”, Proceedings of the workshop held in Lausanne, 17-20 June 2008. The proceedings of the workshop have been published by Géraldine Regolini-Bissig and Emmanuel Reynard, in the collection Géovisions of the Institute of Geography of Lausanne University.

The volume presents eight contributions. In the first article, G.Regolini-Bissig (University of Lausanne) proposes recommendations for elaborating geotourist maps. The second paper, written by S.Martin (University of Lausanne) is a kind of application of Regolini-Bissig’s proposals. It presents the different steps for the preparation of a geotourist map of the glacio-karstic area of Tsanfleuron (Swiss Alps). Four papers present case studies in various geomorphological contexts. P.Brandolini (University of Genova) and M.Pelfini (University of Milano) propose a method for mapping geomorphological hazards along hiking trails used for geotourism. B.Erhartiè (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) discusses mapping issues at the scale of the country and of a geosite. A.Rovere and colleagues (University of Genova) discuss mapping issues of underwater geoheritage. Finally, M.Pelfini and colleagues (University of Milano) present investigations carried out on glacial geomorphosites in the Italian Alps. The last two papers have a more technical value. The first one, written by L.Ghiraldi and colleagues (Universities of Modena and Torino), concerns the use of GIS and geomatics tools in the assessment and exploitation of geomorphosites, whereas the second, written by M.Giardino and colleagues (University of Torino) presents a specific GIS mobile mapping tool useful for data collection and mapping in the field.

Reference: Regolini-Bissig G., Reynard E. (eds) (2010). Mapping Geoheritage, Lausanne: Institute of Geography, Géovisions n° 35, 127 p. The digital version is available on the website.

Geom2010v2From Geosites to Geomorphosites: how to decode the landscape?

This is the title of a special issue of the French journal “Géomorphologie: relief, processus, environnement”, edited by Christian Giusti, member of the WG.
The volume collects 8 papers related to the session TS3 Theoretical aspects: geosites and geomorphosites of the conference “Geomorphosites 2009: raising the profile of geomorphological heritage through iconography, inventory and promotion” organised in Paris in 2009. It follows another special issue on geomorphosites published by the journal in 2005 (see below).

GCHGeomorphology and Cultural Heritage – The book is published by Paola Coratza and Mario Panizza (editors) and collects 17 papers.

The volume collects articles related to the Topical Symposium T17.01 “Geomorphological sites in a cultural integrated landscape” of the 32nd International Geological Congress (32IGC) (Florence, Italy, 2004); sessions S16 “Geomorphology and natural-cultural heritage” and WG4 “Geomorphological Sites: research, assessment and improvement” of the 6th International Conference on Geomorphology (Zaragoza, Spain, 2005) and session T30 “Geomorphological heritage: assessment, appraisal and safeguard” of the Quinto Forum Italiano di Scienze della Terra, GeoItalia 2005 (Spoleto, Italy, 2005).

Reference: Coratza P., Panizza M. (eds) (2010). Geomorphology and Cultural Heritage, Memorie Descrittive per la Carta Geologica d’Italia, vol. 87, 189 p.

Download the volume.

geo-erpc“Geomorphosites” was edited by Emmanuel Reynard, Paola Coratza and Géraldine Regolini-Bissig and constitutes the synthesis of the WG’s activity during the period 2001-2009. It was published by Pfeil Verlag in Munich (Germany) in May 2009.
The book was written by a panel of 26 authors from 18 universities. It is organised in four sections (19 chapters): What are geomorphosites?; Assessment and mapping; Protection and promotion; Examples of geomorphosite management.

Geoheritage – that are the geological and geomorphological elements of nature worthy of being conserved – is an important component of the natural heritage. In most cases, it constitutes the skeleton of the landscape. The new interest of the scientific community for the geomorphological heritage – the so-called geomorphosites – has induced the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) to create in September 2001, at the 5th International Conference on Geomorphology held in Tokyo, a specific working group aiming to improve knowledge and scientific research on the definition, assessment, cartography, promotion and conservation of geomorphosites. During the last eight years, experiences were shared during workshops and international conferences and the main results were published in international journals. This book proposes a synthesis of the research on the geomorphological heritage, both at the conceptual and methodological level. The results presented here are based on numerous studies carried out by various researchers in different contexts (academic research, environmental impact assessment, conservation, geotourism) and countries. This book, written by a first class international team, will help researchers and students dealing with geotourism, geodiversity, geoconservation and geoparks in their tasks.

The book is available (30€) directly by the editorDownload order form


5a1In this special issue of Geographica Helvetica (Swiss Journal of Geography), edited by E. Reynard, recent research results on the assessment of geomorphosites and geodiversity carried out in different countries are presented. The articles explore the concept of geodiversity, present experience with various assessment methods in different contexts, and discuss management issues of a geomorphosite at the local scale. The volume contains 6 papers written by members of the WG.
Read the  introduction. The special issue of Geographica Helvetica is available online here.

Reynard, E., Coratza, P.: Geomorphosites and geodiversity: a new domain of research
Serrano, E., Ruiz-Flano, P.: Geodiversity. A theoretical and applied concept
Reynard, E., Fontana, G., Kozlik, L., Scapozza, C.: A method for assessing “scientific” and “additional values” of geomorphosites
Pereira, P., Pereira, D., Caetano Alves, M.I.: Geomorphosite assessment in Montesinho Natural Park (Portugal)
Zouros, N.: Geomorphosite assessment and management in protected areas of Greece. Case study of the Lesvos island – coastal geomorphosites
Panizza, V., Mennella, M.: Assessing geomorphosites used for rock climbing. The example of Monteleone Rocca Doria (Sardinia, Italy)


5b1This special volume was realised within the framework of the research project MIUR- COFIN 2001 “Geositi nel paesaggio italiano: ricerca, valutazione e valorizzazione” (Geosites in the Italian landscape: research, assessment and promotion ) and is published with the “Recommendation Rec (2004) 3 of the Council of Europe on conservation of geological heritage and areas of special geological interest”. Most of the authors are members of the Working Group “Geomorphosites” and the volume constitutes the Proceedings of the workshops co-organized by the Working Group and the MIUR-COFIN project in Modena (2002) and Cagliari (2003).

Il Quaternario, Italian Journal of Quaternary Sciences 18 (1), 2005 – Volume Speciale (Geomorphological Sites and Geodiversity)
A cura di Sandra Piacente & Paola Coratza

5d1Géomorphologie: Relief, Processus, Environnement publishes contributions in French or English on geomorphology in its broadest sense. This volume focuses on the different issues in current geomorphosites research, i.e. assessment, mapping, protection and promotion. The various articles have been submitted by members of the Working Group on Geomorphosites.

Géormorphologie – relief, processus, environnemnt Juillet-Septembre 2005 – n° 3


-International Workshop on Urban Geomorphological Heritage

Sapienza University of Rome 27-29 October 2016

-The 33rd International Geographical Congress – IGU Beijing, China,  21-25 August 2016.
sessionGeomorphology, Geomorphosites and Landscape

-Second International Conference:


Tozeur, 19-24 October 2015 – Tunisia

Annual Report 2015


Under the auspices of the IAG Working group “Geomorphosites”, the Institute of Geography of the University of Lausanne proposes a  thematic bibliography on geomorphosites.The aim of this bibliography is to collect the existing literature on geomorphosites in order to furnish a data base concerning different domains like geomorphosite protection, assessment and promotion; many references also deal with the presentation of regional inventories of geomorphosites. The bibliography contains several types of documents and focuses on European literature. Such a bibliography could not be exhaustive; even so, we hope that it could be useful to people dealing with geoconservation, geosites, geoparks or geotourism. The bibliography is also available in form of CD-rom containing the list of references in three different formats:

Bibliography_Endnote is a file in Endnote format. Endnote is a software of bibliographical references database. To read this file, one needs the software Endnote 9.0 to be installed on your computer.

Bibliography_Word is a file in .doc format.

Bibliography_pdf is a file in .pdf format.