MULTICRITERIA ASSESSMENT OF PALEONTOLOGICAL SITES, IN A CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF GEODIVERSITY. CASE STUDY: VILLA DE LEYVA, COLOMBIA
The valuation prototype was applied to the Kronosaurus boyacensis, Hampe 1992 paleontological site, located in Boyacá, Colombia. This locality is worldwide recognized for the exceptional preservation of early cretaceous marine reptiles, in a context of high vulnerability given the story of illegal fossils sale to foreign visitors.
Here, we designed and applied a Multicriteria Assessment Methodology following the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to decide the best management strategy for the Kronosaurus boyacensis. The criteria included were grouped in geological, environmental, sociocultural and economic components. Three management alternatives were considered, in situ conservation, ex situ conservation and fossils sale. The criteria, subcriteria and management alternatives were identified through literature review, surveys and focus groups with stakeholders (Local and National government, communities and academy). The Analytical Hierarchy Process consists of several matrixes of pared comparison to determine the weight of each component in the model. The validity of the results is guaranteed through the consistency index, which in all cases is inferior than 10% as required by the AHP. The results obtained demonstrate that the best alternative for this specific site is in situ conservation (44,5%). Additionally, the model product of this research was recognized useful by stakeholders to understand and track the decision process.
We present a methodological contribution to the assessment of geodiversity. The study and application of the Multicriteria analysis in the field of geosciences will enhance the conservation of geological features of scientific relevance and will bring a more holistic vision of nature, promoting its sustainable management.