A Geopark is not a figure of legal protection but must ensure the implementation of laws that guarantee the conservation of its natural values.
At a national level, Spanish legislation is among the most advanced in Europe in terms of geological conservation:
- The country has been a pioneer in the protection of natural spaces and has 11 UNESCO Global Geoparks and 47 biosphere reserves.
- Law 42/2007 of Natural Heritage and Biodiversity is currently one of the most important laws that directly regulate the management of geological heritage at the state level. Explicitly includes the protection of geological heritage and geodiversity. In short, it is compulsory to study geodiversity in cases established by law and advances in cataloguing and conservation of geological heritage and geodiversity. Is currently developing the National Strategic Plan for Natural Heritage and the Biodiversity, which includes an assessment of geodiversity.
Other laws that directly affect the preservation of the geological environment (geoconservation) are:
- Law 45/2007 for the Sustainable Rural Development.
- Proposes that the geological resources of rural areas can be used for sustainable development, provided that they give priority to the conservation of the environment, the landscape and the natural and cultural heritage.
- He states that the tasks of planning necessary to develop initiatives for knowledge, heritage protection and sustainable management of biological, geological and mining resources as scientific, cultural and tourist.
- Law 5/2007 of the Network of National Parks
- Specify the characteristics of the Network of National Parks, as well as the powers of the Ministry of Environment.
- National Parks are defined as “natural areas of high ecological and cultural, little changed by human activity or operation for reasons of the beauty of its landscapes, the representativeness of their ecosystems or the uniqueness of its flora, fauna, geology or its geomorphological formations, have ecological values, aesthetic, cultural, educational and scientific highlights, their preservation deserves particular attention and is declared in the general interest of the State. “
- They define some units representing geodiversity Spanish, as well as a set of natural systems represent the Spanish Red. Some of these are taken into account in geology.
- Law 15/1985 on Spanish Historical Heritage. At the state level, the protection of paleontological heritage has been made mainly in the framework of the law of historical and only exceptionally in the natural environment.
Management of Protected Natural Areas is transferred to the regions, so that each has different set of protection, which must be consistent with state law.
In order to implement this law, Catalonia has a Management Plan for Natural Protected Areas (2015-2020).
In Catalonia there are common rules of archaeological and paleontological Catalan:
- Llei 9/1993, de 30 de setembre, del Patrimoni Cultural Català (DOGC núm. 1807 publicat el 11/10/1993). Correcció d’errades en el DOGC núm. 1825, pàg. 7761, de 24.11.1993.
- Decret 78/2002, de 5 de març, del Reglament de protecció del patrimoni arqueològic i paleontològic (DOGC núm. 3915 publicat el 01/07/2003). Correcció d’errades en el DOGC núm. 3594, pàg. 4608, de 13.3.2002.
“Items related to fossil humans or their origin or background, as well as its geological setting, which are located or come from the soil, subsoil or inland waters of the territory of Catalonia or the territorial sea or continental shelf corresponding to their coastline, or are part of museum collections or collections of Catalonia” are part of the Catalan paleontological heritage.
More than 40% of the region Conca de Tremp-Montsec Geopark project is protected by various legal devices in accordance with Catalan, Spanish and European legislation: Starlight Reserve and Tourist Destination, Espacios de Interés Natural – Areas of Natural Interest (PEIN), National Reserve, Lugar de interés Cultural Nacional, Zona de Especial Conservación (ZEC) y europea Red Natura 2000, etc.This means that many areas of interest are now under the protection of these devices.
In addition, most of the elements of the geological heritage of the Geopark project included in the official inventory of Áreas de Interés Geológico de Cataluña (EIG), Lugares de Interés Geológico (LIG) y Lugares de interés patrimonio Minero (LIPM). All these devices are legal protection in Catalonia. It is noteworthy that all deposits are listed paleontological declared Bienes de Interés Cultural Nacional (higher protection device legal in Catalonia).