Assessing Environmental Capacities of Geoparks for Sustainable Rural Tourism (Case Study: Proposed Dorfak-Deylaman Geoparkin Gilan, North of Iran)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. in Geomorphology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Natural Geography, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 Professor, Department of Natural Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran



Purpose: Sustainable rural development is a comprehensive, balanced, and endogenous process wherein the capacities and capabilities of rural communities to fulfill primary material and spiritual needs, as well as to exert control over the forces shaping the local settlement system (ecological, social, economic, institutional and territorial), undergo enhancement and advancement. This research aims to identify and assess the geotourism capabilities and their role in the sustainable rural development of the proposed Dorfak and Deylaman Geopark in Gilan Province, the first of its kind in the north of Iran.
Methods: This study employs a descriptive-analytical method. Using field observations and library studies, selected landforms were identified using topographic and geological maps with scales of 1:50,000 and 1:100,000. Subsequently, the Fassoulas model was applied to six main groups (scientific-ecological, protection, cultural, aesthetic, economic, and potential for use criteria) for review and ranking.
Results: The scores for the Dorfak karstic landscape (3.71), Dorfak glacial cave (3.36), Beshkafteh Sang (3), Yarshalman cave (2.91), Darband Rashi cave (2.87), Babu cave (2.125), Espahbadan cave (2.1), and Diarjan cave (1.92) were obtained, ranked in descending order from highest to lowest.
Conclusion: According to UNESCO guidelines, the findings demonstrate the substantial potential for investing in geosites, geomorphosites, and surrounding villages to establish the first geopark, fostering socio-economic-environmental development in this region. Beyond contributing to rural development and tourist attraction, this initiative has the potential to transform the area into a critical hub for geotourism within the country.