The table mountain landscape with the mountains that rise above the fertile plains are important areas for outdoor life and tourism. The region of Västergötland is focusing on nature tourism and highlighting the region’s distinctive character in culture and nature. There, a geopark’s focus on geotourism (tourism where geological sites and landscapes are in focus) as well as knowledge tourism (tourism where learning is in focus) is an important part.
Geological diversity in the table mountain landscape has several important functions:
- It provides knowledge of our planet’s history of development, the processes of planet Earth and our future.
- As a foundation for variation in natural habitats and rich biodiversity. Areas of high geological diversity give a high biodiversity, as the geological conditions provide the foundation which habitats interact with and thrive. The table mountains with their different rocks are classic examples of this, with, for example, the alvar land at Österplana Hed or the screes around Halleberg and Hunneberg. The ice age deposits in the area give a wide variety of natural habitats and biology, for example in the kame landscape of Valle Härad.
- As a foundation for outdoor life, recreation and tourism. Many of our most important destinations in outdoor and tourism are geological sites, with strong links to cultural and historical values. In the geopark we can for example mention Lugnås Qvarnstensgruva, Råda Ås, Kinnekulle, Mösseberg and Ålleberg as a few examples among many.
Geological heritage can be seen as a geological natural resource that should be used in a sustainable way. In order for these functions to be maintained and managed in a long term, you need to gather knowledge and make a vulnerability analysis of the sites. Geological diversity is an important part of maintaining resilient nature systems and the ecosystem services which people depend on. Natural systems consist of abiotic and biotic factors, and geology directly contributes to all four types of ecosystem services (supportive, regulatory, provisioning, cultural).
In the cultivation landscape in Västergötland, many of the cultural values are closely linked to the geological heritage. There are ancient stone churches, quarries, megalith graves, boulders, etc. To maintain a rich farming landscape where cultural heritage values are preserved, we need knowledge of the geological heritage. The fertile soil on the plain is a direct result of the rocks’ nutrients and the ice age deposits. Knowledge of the geological history directly contribute to the natural and cultural values of the cultivation landscape.