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Environment of Viewpoint Geosites: Evidence from the Western Caucasus
- Mikhailenko, Anna V., Ruban, Dmitry A.
- Land 2019 v.8 no.6
- environmental assessment, geomorphology, landscapes, vegetation cover, Caucasus region
- Viewpoint geological and geomorphological heritage sites (geosites and geomorphosites) offer panoramic views over unique geological features and landscapes dominated by significant features. The environmental context is of crucial importance for these sites. Three components of a viewpoint geosite environment are proposed: standpoint environment, transitional environment, and target environment. Each can be evaluated with a set of criteria such as presence of geological and geoheritage elements, presence and type of vegetation cover, anthropogenic intervention, and degree of fragmentation and contrast. Three examples of viewpoint geosites from the Western Caucasus are analyzed. It is shown that all three demonstrate differences between the noted components of viewpoint geosite environment. Moreover, the differences between these geosites result from their environmental differences and less from differences of their displayed geoheritage. Broad applications and further justifications of the environmental evaluation method of viewpoint geosites are recommended.