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Research in UNESCO Global Geoparks

Why choose UNESCO Global Geoparks in Portugal to do research?

UNESCO Global Geoparks, are true "open-air" laboratories due to their characteristics and the value of their heritage,, where scientists, students, teachers and citizens can contribute to improve knowledge of the territory itself, researching and producing R+D in several areas, such as geology, biology, geography, climatology, environment, society, landscape, among many others.

- Check the Catalogue of Scientific Research in Portuguese UNESCO Global Geoparks

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The Geoparks provide Support to Research through the facilitation of contacts with Research Centres, Educational Institutions and local stakeholders, offering guided tours (in English), and also other logistic support, under request.


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Research in Naturtejo UNESCO Global Geopark


Naturtejo UNESCO Global Geopark is a territory with an exceptional Geological Heritage, of relevant scientific, educational and aesthetic importance, combined with ecological and historical-cultural values integrated in a sustainable local development strategy.

In Naturtejo Geopark the Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco, a higher education institution that is celebrating forty years of existence, with excellent facilities and laboratory conditions for the practice of advanced teaching and research. This is a territory opened to the world through different academic protocols, but focused on the territory's needs. It is a Geopark with a long history of contributions to international and national science, from João Rodrigues “Amato Lusitano” and António Ribeiro Sanches, both born in this territory, to the “fief” of the geographer Orlando Ribeiro. Naturtejo Geopark is a landscape of scientific opportunities that embraces those who want to go further.


Research fields in Naturtejo Geopark


- Sequential Stratigraphy and Ichnology of the Armorican Quartzite Formation

- Paleontology of the Ordovician-Silurian successions

- Palynology, paleobotany and Cenozoic microvertebrates of the Beira Baixa and Murracha Groups

- Macro-, microvertebrates and palynology of river terraces in the “Alto Tejo Português” hydrographic basin

Granite Geomorphology

- Geodynamic evolution of the granitic landforms

- Geochemistry of granitoids


- Geoarcheology of megalithic contexts

- Geoarcheology of protohistoric and Roman mining contexts

- 3D mapping of the Roman mining areas

- 3D Modeling of Rock Art

- Ancient DNA studies of fossils and geochemistry of archaeological materials for provenance studies

Geological Resources

- Socio-economic and environmental impacts resulting from the mining history in the territory and the construction of large renewable energy projects

Education for Sustainable Development

- Development of interactive and autonomous educational tools for students and teachers

- Strategies for non-formal teaching of landscape evolution in extreme conditions

Geoconservation and Geotourism

- Geomonument geoconservation projects

- Strategies for developing geomonuments and other sites of geological and mining relevance

- Activation strategies for geotourism products

Hydrogeology and groundwater resources

- Hydrogeological heritage

- Groundwater resources and climate change

Geochronology of landform evolution

- OSL dating of river terraces

- Cosmogenic Nuclides: dates and rates of earth-surface change

Research collaborations

DISTAV, University of Genova


Pedro Nuno Silva

Associate Professor at Superior School of Technology of the Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco, integrated member of the Research Unit in Services, Applications and Digital Contents (DiSAC) IPCB

“The Project Curricular Units aim to apply the knowledge acquired by the students throughout the years of their courses. Whenever possible, these final projects should be suggested by companies or institutions that already work and/or intend to implement solutions involving Computer Systems and Technologies. In Naturtejo Geopark I found the partner for the development of several projects, for students of the Degree in Computer Science Engineering, Degree in Information and Multimedia Technologies and of the Master in Software Development and Interactive Systems, that allowed the students to articulate theory with practice in a real context. I found flexibility, scientific rigour, demonstration of constant concern for help, and clarification that contributed to the commitment and motivation of students throughout the development of the projects. My experience with Naturtejo Geopark has been excellent and surprising, because it offers a scientific work with specific focus in Multimedia and Information Systems, besides offering several opportunities for disclosure either in congresses, publications, seminars and lectures of the highest quality. I strongly recommend and thank the work developed in this partnership and the excellent projects we have been able to develop."

Pedro Proença e Cunha

Full Professor of Geology, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Coimbra. MARE - Centre for Marine and Environmental Sciences

"An interpretation of the landscape evolution, climates, tectonics and early human occupation in Naturtejo Geopark area, where I have been conducting studies of Cenozoic stratigraphy and sedimentology, as well as Geomorphology, for almost 40 years. I was involved in the classification of Portas de Ródão as a Natural Monument. In recent years, scientific research has focused more on the sedimentary and geomorphological records of the Tejo River dating from the last 4 million years or so, allowing an interpretation of the landscape evolution, climates, tectonics and early human occupation".

Aram Bayet-Goll

Assistant Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (IASBS), Iran

“Since my arrival to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (IASBS), Zanjan, Iran, I have been involved in a number of ichnological projects with Carlos Neto de Carvalho from the Geological Survey of Idanha-a-Nova, Naturtejo UNESCO Global Geopark, Portugal. In Portugal, various geological zones such as the Central Iberian and the South Portuguese zones show geological heritage of international significance that have a wide potential for research in various fields of geology. For the past 7 years, me and C. N. de Carvalho were working on a number of projects that involved applications of ichnology in facies analysis and sequence stratigraphy, focusing on areas of Iran and Portugal. We worked on a variety of projects, quite diverse at first sight, but all of them providing us different perspectives and expanding our understanding of trace fossils through geological time and across different environmental settings. Due to the high potential of research topics in the Geoparks in Portugal, we are currently planning to pursue our research on different ichnological projects, primarily dealing with shallow-marine ichnofaunas through the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. The sedimentary successions in these Geoparks are poorly understood by means of ichnology, facies analysis and sequence stratigraphy.

During my fieldwork in Naturtejo UNESCO Global Geopark, I became impressed by sites of archeological, cultural and historical significance. My feeling from this geopark is that they have tried to explore, develop and celebrate the links between the geological heritage and all other aspects of the area’s natural, cultural and intangible heritages, and they have been very successful. The majority of sites present in Naturtejo Geopark and also the west coast of Portugal (my last fieldwork in Jurassic successions) have a wide potential for research. A lot of material elaborated or collected in former years is waiting for publications in collaboration with C. N. De Carvalho.”

Sofia Pereira

Researcher at the Centre for Geosciences of the University of Coimbra

"The aims and goals of academic geological research are very distinct from those of geology dissemination. Often, what geologically fills the eyes of the ordinary citizen has little academic interest and what fills the eyes of the geologist has limited geotourist appeal. But both aspects depend on each other and it is in this dependence that lays the importance of the collaboration between researchers and geoparks. Cooperating with Naturtejo UGGp has allowed to boost the gains for both parts: things that I would ignore as a researcher are now incorporated by the interest they may have for the geopark and, in the same way, things that would pass unnoticed through the filter of geoheritage interest are now revealed through scientific research. In the end, we all win: me as a researcher, Naturtejo Geopark as an institution, the science, the public and the region."

João Caninas

General Coordinator of Proença-a-Nova Archaeological Site, Member of the High Tejo Studies Association, CHAIA - University of Évora and EMERITA - Portuguese Company of Archaeology.

"Naturtejo Geopark is, as we say in popular language, "a breath of fresh air" in the panorama of the valorisation of our environmental heritage and, simultaneously, a tourist promotion of the present sub-region of Beira Baixa in an international scale never reached before, due to its integration under UNESCO. On the other hand, this first Portuguese Geopark contributed to put in the political, social and economic agenda a set of values of undeniable importance, and I would even say transcendence, from the geomonuments to the humanized landscapes, the geomining heritage and in general the archeological heritage and others; to the driving force of this project, the geologist Carlos Neto de Carvalho, and to the municipalities that hosted it, we owe a sincere praise. In this same region, which from a political-administrative point of view we can call the Intermunicipal Community of Beira Baixa, we have been implementing another project of study, valorisation and internationalisation of the archaeological heritage, which is intended to be innovative, the Archaeological Site of Proença-a-Nova (CAPN), which resulted from a happy partnership between a local authority, the Proença-a-Nova Municipality, and a non-governmental organisation of cultural heritage and environment, the High Tejo Studies Association.

Since the first moment, seven years ago, CAPN sought to have Naturtejo UGGp present in its programme of activities, requesting the support of the Geopark’s technical team both in research and in the dissemination of the regional geodiversity among the CAPN participants, with undeniable success."

Francisco Henriques

Member of the High Tejo Studies Association

"The quality of the organizations depends, essentially, on the quality of their staff and their policies. Naturtejo Geopark is an extraordinary example of this statement. Since its implementation it knew how to dialogue, articulate and value the several social actors of the region recruiting them for a common cause. It went to the schools to train and inform, to the municipalities to value their territory, to the associations providing scientific support, as it did, for example, with the High Tagus Studies Association. Its action contributed to the detailed knowledge of this vast inland space and not only in terms of geology. The availability of its staff to answer promptly to a project, or a simple doubt, stands out and through its scientific production it opened the region to the world, giving continuity and lasting character to the work of other researchers.

In short, Naturtejo Geopark by its creativity, knowledge, dynamism, availability and promotion capacity was an enormous added value for the territory where it intervenes".

Martim Chichorro

Assistant Professor, Researcher from GeoBioTec - Sedimentary Basins and Paleontology Research Group of the Earth Sciences Department of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Nova University Lisbon

"The project I am developing with Naturtejo Geopark aims to contribute to the scientific knowledge of the nature of the Iberian Crust and its evolution. What we search there are the imprints (tectonic-magmatic and chronostratigraphic) recorded in the rocks that give singularity to the terrain where they are inserted, i.e., to the Central Iberian Zone. The partnership with Naturtejo Geopark allows us to access geological units of the region that are testimonies of the geological history developed during the construction of the Gondwana supercontinent, at the end of the Neoproterozoic, and during its subsequent evolution in opening ("rifting") and divergence ("drifting"), in the Cambrian-Ordovician period.

The most motivating aspect of this cooperation is the conviction that the resulting benefits are shared equally by Science and Society. Science relates with the unknown through the scientific method and generates contributions of Knowledge. But it is the geopark that ensures that Knowledge becomes Wisdom, offering this knowledge to society and to the region and that guarantees its protection and valorisation on a global scale".

Isabel Margarida Antunes

Assistant Professor at the Earth Sciences Department of the University of Minho

"Naturtejo Geopark is an excellent example of promotion of the transmission of technical and scientific knowledge, with values promoting a more responsible citizenship in the region. The several actions developed by Naturtejo Geopark show the involvement of specialized staff with a strong and solid connection to the community and local administration. My collaboration with Naturtejo Geopark, along the last 10 years, has passed by research works and scientific dissemination, locally and internationally, as well as, through the participation in educational actions of dissemination in the region. This involvement has allowed a strong personal and professional enrichment, both of scientific and cultural values and human promotion. The transmission of scientific knowledge to the local and national community has been an excellent challenge, at national and International level, the geoparks constitute the "bridge of connection" between the community and science; through the creation of strategies promoting the teaching and dissemination of geosciences."

Andrea Baucon

Lecturer and Researcher at Department of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Genova, Italy

"My research experience at Naturtejo UGGp has been the game-changing event of my life. Coming to Idanha-a-Nova and immersing myself in palaeontological research has enriched not only my knowledge, but also my attitude towards science. Thanks to its unique geopalaeontological heritage, Naturtejo Geopark greatly widened my knowledge horizons. I never seen such beautiful trilobite burrows! At Naturtejo, I have learned how to conduct collaborative and independent scientific research. Sure, I did scientific research before coming to Portugal and thought that I understood the whole process but let me tell you, nothing can replace the real Naturtejo experience. Immersed in a landscape of rare beauty, I worked with wonderful people, learning not only concepts but also a method – how to do science. With the support of the scientific coordinator Carlos Neto de Carvalho, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study trace fossils and bring palaeontological knowledge to the general public. The Naturtejo staff offered me not only careful supervision, but also high-responsibility works. This combination of supervised experience and individual responsibility forged my scientific soul. One of the most precious aspects of my Naturtejo experience was the possibility of developing my creativity at full range… I had the opportunity to realize my wildest research and outreach dreams there! The experience with Naturtejo has been so fruitful that collaboration continues today. I have had great humanistic time in Portugal too, such as going to the Monsanto and Vila Velha de Ródão villages, visiting art museums and spending great time at “esplanadas” with new friends. To prospective researchers, know that your research at Naturtejo can take you to all sorts of places and experiences – e.g. I developed exhibitions in Lisbon and in Greece, I attended congresses in Scotland and Germany. The Naturtejo experience will be likely to enhance your skills, expand your international research community and foster your scientific creativity."

Isabel Fernandes


Assistant Professor of the Department of Geology of the Faculty of Sciences of the Univ. of Lisbon

"The tourism interest of the village of Monsanto lies largely in the fusion of the rock massif with human constructions and in the aesthetics of the granite boulders dispersed in the landscape. The research developed, which included geology, geographic engineering and civil engineering, aimed to evaluate the probability of fall or landslide of the rock blocks that could compromise the safety of people and visitors. The inventory of all the large boulders was carried out in field work and using a drone, in order to record the geometrical and mechanical characteristics of the boulders and identify the potential for movement initiation. For the boulders that presented high hazard, modelling was carried out to define the extension of the trajectories, after the movement had started. This geological hazard mapping provides the necessary data for the development of mitigation measures"



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