The first volume of the Paleontological heritage and its conservation in the UNESCO European Geoparks series was published online by the Geoconservation Research journal, with a print copy forthcoming.
The volume comprises 24 articles that present aspects of the earlier stages of the history of life on Earth, illustrated through plant and animal fossils preserved within UNESCO geoparks across Europe. All articles also present ongoing conservation efforts undertaken in the respective geoparks under review, as well as the capitalization of these heritage values through educational and touristic activities:
By the end of 2021, a second volume in the series will also see print, containing 36 articles in total. The article presenting the broader volume is authored by Professor Dan Grigorescu, Scientific Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, head organizer and associated editor of Geoconservation Research.
In the introductory chapter of the volume, its editor-in-chief, Professor Michael Benton of the University of Bristol, highlights Professor Grigorescu’s contribution to the successful completion of this ample editorial endeavour:
„When Professor Dan Grigorescu accepted our invitation to act as Guest Editor for this special volume on the ‘European UNESCO Geoparks’ in early 2020, we did not expect it would come together so quickly and so efficiently. This was achieved through Professor Grigorescu’s long-established leadership of the initiative, over several decades, keeping contact with colleagues throughout all countries in Europe, both through correspondence and encouragement and through several conferences at which the ideas were shared and scientific and cultural relationships developed.
During the intervening year, Professor Grigorescu and I have worked together to discuss plans for the whole volume, as well as individual chapters, and to encourage authors and author collectives to produce their chapters. We asked them to prepare short papers in which they describe the scientific reasons why their Geopark is internationally important, outline the history of research and the history of establishment as a Geopark, and finally to consider practical and educational aspects of the Geopark in terms of its development, its current state, and future plans.
Our overall aim is to document a coherent network of Geoparks that show the best of the geology and palaeontology of Europe, but placed in global context, and to share ideas and initiatives that describe practical geoconservation in context of education and tourism. In many cases, contributors also describe the practical aspects of their Geoparks, how they negotiate with local and national administrations, and the problems and pitfalls of maintaining adequate funding. In his introductory chapter, Dan Grigorescu outlines the history of the Geopark concept, especially its application in Europe, earlier conferences, and the key palaeontological themes.”
In the subsequent article to Professor Benton’s introductory remarks, Professor Dan Grigorescu undertakes an ample presentation of the entire tome.