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Paving the road for sustainability through global understanding of heritage
* 1 , 2 , 1 , 1
1  Instituto Politécnico de Tomar, Instituto Terra e Memória, Centro de Geociências da Universidade de Coimbra
2  Centro de Geociências da Universidade de Coimbra


The contemporary understanding that heritage comprises the whole bio and geosphere, due to the direct or indirect anthropic impact all over the planet, allows for a global understanding of heritage that pervades all domains of sustainability research.

The current debate on the so-called Anthropocene calls for revisiting past strategies of humans-environment disruptive episodes, in order to better understand the global implications of everyday actions and the wider implications of the interactions between technology and sociocultural structure. Anthropogenic evidences are the core of heritage, and their assessment allows tracing processes in terms of landscape management, illustrating how concepts like "land-use" or "resources exploitation" emerges from a utilitarian solutions-oriented approach, whereas concepts like "resilience" or "sustainability" are embedded in a dilemmas-facing approach, which encompasses problems but frames them within a longer-term reasoning and foresight.

This is the relevance of heritage at large and of geoheritage in particular: a cultural understanding of past equilibriums, and disruptions, as compounds of resources, technology, logistics and sociocultural processes. This has relevant consequences for current global challenges, as in the case of low demographic density territories, i.e., those where a third of the world population still lives, corresponding to over 95% of the lithosphere.

This paper is a review study, being the discussion based on pertinent literature revision regarding how these territories may offer best examples of integrated responses, engaging geosciences as a backbone for interaction with tourism, technology or societal strategies. In this context, no remote sensing data or other analytical data were processed to support the results, since this is not the focus of the paper.

Keywords: heritage; anthropogenic processes; global understanding; sustainability