Evaluation of Geomorphosites and Analysis of their Strengths and Weaknesses Using GAM and M-GAM Models (Case Study: Sardasht City)

Document Type : Applied Article


Assistant Professor, Faculty member, Kurdistan University


Geomorphosites are Geomorphological sites the results of both internal and external dynamics over time. It has Scientific, Ecological, Cultural, Aesthetic and Economic values that play an immense role in understanding the Paleo-Geomorphological evolution of local areas. Considering the importance of the topics of Geotourism in the decades and especially in recent years, different countries have developed the national list of Geomorphosites. Accordingly, Geological and Geomorphologic diversity is a point for sustainable regional development in the form of Geologic Tourism and Geotourism. The Geotourism studies provide the basis for creating a management route at the Geomorphosites from beginning to end and ultimately leads to better development and promotion of Geomorphosites. The existence of these studies, focusing on assessing the position of Geomorphosites, especially the management approach, has led to a considerable progress toward the sustainable development.
The main methodology of this research is based on Theoretical studies (Theoretical and Library), field studies in the path of recognition of Geomorphosites, as well as questioning with statistical analyzes in a quantitative-qualitative and analytical framework based on the GAM and M-GAM Model. In the research process, topographic maps of 1: 50000, Geological maps of 1: 100,000, along with Google Earth images, have also been used. The GAM method is a Geomorphosites assessment Model that was formally presented by Vujicic and colleagues in 2011. This method is based on Peralong (2005), Perera et al (2007), Zurus (2007) and Reynard et al. (2008) Models. The GAM methodology, including the main value (MV), includes scientific-educational value (VSE), aesthetic value (VSA) and protective value (VPr), each with four sub-criteria.  Added value (AV) also includes functional value (VFn) with 6 sub-criteria and also touristic value (VFn) with 9 sub-criteria. The assessment of this method includes the main value with 12 sub-criteria and the added value with 15 sub-criteria, which is a total of 27 sub-criteria and formulated as follows:
GAM= MV(VSE+ VSA+ VPr)+ AV(VFn+VTr)                                                                                                                           (1)
Finally, based on the results of the evaluation, a matrix consisting of the main and the additional values is created. The two existing values are represented in two axes, X and Y, and are presented as a special chart of the GAM to display the Geomorphosites and their position.
Another Model is M-GAM. This Model is also a Geomorphosites evaluation method based on the GAM methodology. The structural difference and the improvements in it include the views of Tourists in the process of evaluating indicators. Visitors estimate the significance (Im) of each parameter from the 27 sub-criteria in the GAM method. Finally, the general formula for estimation in M-GAM is as follows:
M- GAM= Im(GAM)or Im(MV+AV)
Finally, based on the results of the evaluation, a matrix consisting of the main and the additional values is created And the Geomorphosites are interpreted.
This research, aims to study the Geomorphosites analysis with the management approach. Accordingly, the research process involves two parts of the environmental analysis and effective parameters, the identification and selection of Geomorphosites, their quantitative assessment with a systemic view, and finally analysis of their position with the management approach. The study area has a high structural complexity, as a product of the Sanandaj-Sirjan zone activity, the prevailing trends in Azerbaijan as well as the Zagros Thrust. Therefore, the Geological conditions have led to the diversity of the form and process in the study area. Therefore, the above-mentioned conditions are the basis for potential in the Geomorpho- diversity and Geomorphosites regions of the study area. In the phase of its monitoring, fourteen Geosites were identified and selected from the study area. The fourteen Geosites were included (Shalmash waterfall, Razga waterfall, Bitoosh Karstic mass, Sarperdan karstic mass, Kachaka Cave, Homel mountains, Tarkhan mountains, Gravan Spring , Vazne Plain, Biwran region, Mirabad protected forest, Zab river (Kalwe plain), Rassoul Sheet Springs and Vazne river). In the next step, the quantitative evaluation phase was performed based on the opinion of 15 experts. The results of the assessment based on GAM Model showed that the Shalmash, Mirabad, Biwran and Gravan geosites occupy the highest position. The Kachaka cave geomorphosites, which have the lowest and the next rank, are the Sarperdan mass, Bitoosh and Razga waterfall. From the perspective of the GAM diagram, it was also observed that most of the Geomorphosites are located in the Z21, Z22 and Z32 zones. Based on the existing Matrix based on the experts' opinions, the range of obtaining the main value points is 5/5 to 9/75 and the added value is from 4 to 9/25.
Based on the M-GAM Model, the Geomorsites were also evaluated. The results showed that the three Geomorphosites of Shlomash, Gravan, and Biwran had the highest scoring value. The reason was also related to aesthetic values. The results of the Geomorphosite evaluation also determined the importance of the main values, and there is a need to pay more attention to benefit.
The final analysis showed that in high-grade Geomorphosites, scientfic-educational value and aesthetic value were very high but their protective value was low. For instance, in the highest Geomorphosite such as the Shalmash waterfall, the protective value was 2.5, while the Scientific and Aesthetic value was between 3.5 and 3/75. The results of this study showed that in the most of the Geomorphosite the functional value is high, But in lower Geomorphosites, the touristic value is less than the functional value. For example, in the lowest Geomorphosite, such as the Kachaka cave, the tourist rating is 1/25 to 1/5, while the functional rating is 2.75 to 3.
The analysis of the matrix and the special chart of GAM also showed that most of the Geomorphsites are located in Z21, Z22 and Z32 zones. Therefore, it indicates that the main values and related sub-values are higher than the added values which is debatable from a management perspective. Therefore, the study of Geomorphosites with a management approach in the route of sustainable regional development showed that due to the inadequate position of conservation value in Geomorphosites, Geoconservation strategy should be considered in them. The results of this study showed that some Geomorphosites are active and some are inactive, one of the most significant Geoconservation policies is to educate the local community on the path to Geomorphosites participation. Also, the results based on M-GAM showed that the Touristic value has a lower level than the Functional value, Therefore, one of the basic strategies for sustainable development of Sardasht city is the identification and advertising at the weak Geomorphosites, and also branding at the high level of Geomorphosites. Therefore, this process is valuable for the Sardasht city, which is a borderline and deprived area.


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