Un inventaire du patrimoine géologique pour la France

An inventory of the French geological heritage
P. De Wever et A. Cornée
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According to P. Billet’s definition (2002), the geological heritage is composed of all the Earth historical remains contributing in some way to the knowledge of physical or biological events having shaped our planet. But all outcrops and geological features do not belong to this heritage. The geologist has to distinguish from ordinary geological features the remarkable ones which must be passed on to future generations, according to scientific, educational, historical or esthetic criteria, or which are scarce, representative, or exceptionally well preserved. The heritage can be found in the field but also in private or public collections, and sometimes in certain documents. The preservation of geological areas of special interest requires to locating and listing them, as it is done with fauna, flora, wet areas, or ZNIEFFs (Natural Zones of specific interesting for Ecology, Fauna or Florae reasons). It is only since 2002 that geology has been legally recognized as part of nature heritage, on the same basis as biology. Natural heritage now explicitly comprises outstanding features in the field of ‘geology, mineralogy and paleontology’. According to this law the natural heritage inventory covers the entire national territory, the State being responsible for its design, creation and analysis… These inventories of natural heritage are done under the scientific responsibility of the national Museum of Natural History. The Permanent Conference for Geological Heritage defined the methodology at the request of the French Department of Environment, so as to insure coherence and homogeneity of the inventory over the entire national territory. In order to insure data harmonization, a devoted data capture freeware “Geotope” is used. The geological heritage inventory is carried out locally and coordinated by the Environment Regional Directions (DIREN). The Region Scientific Council for the Natural Heritage (CSRPN) assumes scientific responsibility and appoints a regional scientific coordinator for geological and heritage. A description form using Geotope is filled out by an identified author for each chosen site. Authors send the data to the DIREN, and the CSRPN validates them at the regional level. The validated forms are then transmitted to the national Museum of Natural History which is responsible for the scientific aspect of the natural heritage inventory. Such an inventory will allow an analysis and hierarchical classification of geological sites according to their heritage interest. It will also allow the management and/or valorization of these areas. Validated data will become part of the nature and landscapes information System (SINP) created by the Department of Environment. The data which should not be kept confidential will be available to the public on an Internet site, in the national inventory of natural heritage file (http://inpn.mnhn.fr). The inventory data will also be useful for territory management. The law provides that these inventories must be taken into account in all projects or infrastructure programs. In addition, the data basis will easily be integrated in the GEOSITES inventory project of the IUGS (International Union of Geological Sciences), currently under development in concert with UNESCO, and in a more European framework, in its ProGEO part managed by the European Association for the Conservation of Geological Heritage

Dernière mise à jour le 09.06.2015