Professor Mike Fullen, Professor of Soil Technology in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton, and an expert in Soil Science, has been supervising a joint PhD project which focuses on geotourism and footpath erosion in Ubatuba, Brazil.
Three Professors looked at the impact of soil erosion by studying two trail surveys – the Agua Branca Trail and the Sete Praias Trail – with the research findings assisting the local authorities to improve the management of the State Park, whilst also increasing tourists’ awareness of the environmental consequences of their actions.
The research work recommended that local authorities could publicise the importance of geoconservation through the creation of outdoor displays, written in Portuguese and English, which are currently being rolled out across the National Park.
Our joint research shows how an understanding of the area can help with the development of sustainable tourism.
Professor Fullen said: “Geomorphology – the study of the physical features of the surface of the earth and their relation to its geological structures – is necessary to promote and manage geotourism which is critical for nature conservation and preservation.
“Tourism is economically important to the Ubatuba region of Sao Paulo state. Tourists may not understand the geodiversity of the place they are visiting, but they visit because of its natural attractions.
“Over 80% of tourists come between December and March (the Southern Hemisphere summer), and this concentration of visitors has caused footpath degradation. Our joint research shows how an understanding of the area can help with the development of sustainable tourism.”
Professor Fullen worked on the research project with Maria do Carmo Oliveira Jorge, a PhD student at the Department of Geography, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Associate Researcher at LAGESOLOS (Laboratory of Environmental Geomorphology and Land Degradation) Antonio Guerra, Professor of Geography at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.