Cave Conservationist

The Newsletter of Cave Conservation and Management

Volume 14 | No. 4 | December 1, 1995


Published by the NSS Section on Cave Conservation and Management


IUCN Conservation Guidelines for Caves


IUCN Cave and Karst Conservation Guidelines First Draft Comments Due by December 31, 1995


The Cave Conservationist is the official publication of the Conservation and Management Section of the National Speleological Society. Distribution is free to members of the Section. Section membership costs $5 annually and should be mailed to the Secretary. (A membership form for your convenience is included on page 23.) Additional complimentary copies are distributed on a temporary basis at the discretion of the Section to NSS members, internal organizations, cave owners, and others involved in cave conservation projects. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the either the Section or the NSS and should be attributed to the author or, in the case of uncredited articles, to the Editor.

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Copyright 1997 NSS Conservation and Management Section, except as noted. Internal organizations of the National Speleological Society may reprint any item first appearing in the Cave Conservationist so long as proper credit is given and a copy of the newsletter containing the material is mailed to the Editor. Other organizations should contact the Editor.

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NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Conservation & Management Section Officers

Chairman and Publisher: Rob Stitt
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Table of Contents


Table of Contents 2

NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT 2

GUIDELINES FOR CAVE AND KARST PROTECTION 4

Section Membership Information 23

Black Hills Lint Camp 24


NOTES FROM THE PRESIDENT


This is a special issue of the Cave Conservationist dedicated to the draft Guidelines for Cave and Karst Protection that have recently been posted on the Internet for comments. It's been brought to my attention that the deadline for these comments is December 31, but that the American caving community (except for a few persons who we informed of this at the National Cave Management Symposium in October) hasn't seen the guidelines at all. I was asked to get this to American cave conservationists, so here it is. I would hope that many of you will have some comments and that you will submit them. Since you probably won't see this until very close to December 31, an attempt is being made to have the deadline extended. Please submit your comments even if they are past the Dec. 31 deadline!

Because the comments need to go to Australia, which could cause mail delays, I have agreed to accept comments and forward them via e-mail or air mail. If you are able to send comments by e-mail, please send them directly to:

d-gillieson@adfa.oz.au.

If you need to send them by regular mail, please send them to me at:

IUCN Guideline Comments
c/o Rob Stitt
1417 9th Ave. West
Seattle
, WA 98119

Please try and get them in by Dec. 31 if you can. However, I will forward any comments that I receive up until the end of January. There is a good chance that they will be considered, but the sooner the better.

I'm going to turn the rest of this column over to Phillipe Axell, who is the President of the European group ISHA (International Spelean Heritage Association), and who requested that I bring this to you. It will serve as an introduction to the rest of the issue.

Rob Stitt


IUCN will publish Guidelines for Cave and Karst Protection.

Your comments are urgently needed!

The Working Group on Cave and Karst Protection of the IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas has recently released a draft document called "Guidelines for Cave and Karst Protection".

This document is released for comments by all organizations or individuals concerned. The current deadline for comments is December 31, 1995. The additional French translation [Deleted in the Cave Conservationist version] is made by ISHA and is therefore not to be considered as an official translation.

Only the English text should be referred to.

It is the first time that the IUCN produces a Subterranean Heritage oriented document and this is good news for the conservation of the Subterranean Heritage. IUCN is not only an extremely well established environmental authority, but their reports are seriously considered by governments, local, regional and international authorities. This report could create the basis for a global conservation policy for the Subterranean Heritage all over the world.

At ISHA, we feel this is a major step in the development of our objectives and welcome this excellent work made by the working group during the past four years. The importance and the potential impact of the final text of these guidelines implies that it should be based on the broadest consensus amongst all parties concerned by the Subterranean Heritage. This is why ISHA will be addressing a report to the Working Group on Cave and Karst Protection summarizing comments and suggestions not only from its members but also from all other concerned organizations around the world.

We feel it is the job of ISHA to inform other concerned parties about this draft document and ask them for comments/suggestions. We welcome all your messages, fax or letters at the following contact addresses:

e-mail: isha@ciger.be

Fax: + (32) 84 36 71 33

Snail mail:

ISHA Secretariat
8 chemin de la Vigne,
B-5580 BELVAUX
BELGIUM


After a first reading of the draft Guidelines for Cave and Karst Protection the Bureau of ISHA's Executive Committee has expressed the following provisional comments, to be implemented following consultation with its members and associates:

* I - The "artificial" subterranean heritage is not considered in the document (man-made galleries, mines, underground quarries, etc. often representing subterranean habitats for bats or other lifeforms or scientific interest for geologists, paleontologists, archeologists, etc. as well as training ground for cavers). This artificial subterranean heritage is often linked closely to underground waters (phreatic layers, underground reservoirs or streams, etc.) used for drinking water supply near highly populated areas.

Generally speaking, old mines are more often used as garbage dumps than natural caves. They are also usually located in more densely populated areas, therefore preventing any protected area system to be instaured. A special attention should be given to the protection of this particular type of cavities in the IUCN guidelines.

* II - Non-karstic natural cavities (lava tubes, ice caves, etc.), although mentioned in the document's comments, are not accounted for in the guidelines.

This patrimony also represents essential natural values, both for scenic and scientific interest. Guidelines for the conservation of non-karstic cavities should be added to the IUCN guidelines.

* III - In section V, Management at the regional and site level, there is no guideline on WHO should manage protected areas. This could be interpreted as if only official authorities or owners are qualified for the management of the subterranean heritage. This could also be interpreted as if all caving (human) activities should be avoided.

At ISHA, we have always advocated a general concertation amongst all parties concerned and feel that a wrong interpretation of this document could lead to the complete halt of cave research and study in some territories.

The absence of representatives of national, regional or local speleological organizations in the management of karstic or subterranean sites would be most damaging to the effort made by the speleological community to the discovery, the better understanding and the conservation of our subterranean heritage.

We therefore think that a guideline suggesting that a "management council" should be created at different levels, regional, national or local, representative of all parties concerned, including speleological organizations, show caves associations and concerned environmental authorities and/or organizations, should be added to the IUCN guidelines.

Your comments or additional suggestions on the above are welcomed.

Philippe AXELL

ISHA: isha@ciger.be

HOME: philippe.axell@ping.be

GUIDELINES FOR CAVE AND KARST PROTECTION


Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas

(CNPPA)

Synthesised and edited by

(list of lead writers)

IUCN - The World Conservation Union

1996

 


Published by IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK

A contribution towards the printing of this report has been provided by Unesco under Subvention

I U C N

The World Conservation Union

Copyright: (1996) International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Reproduction of this publication for educational or other non-commercial purposes is authorised without prior permission from the copyright holder.

Reproduction for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without the prior written permissions of the copyright holder.

Citation: 1996. Guidelines for Cave and Karst Protection, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. pp.

ISBN:

Printed by:

Cover photo:

Produced by: IUCN Publications Services Unit, Cambridge, UK

Available from: IUCN Publications Services Unit,

181a Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 ODJ, UK

or

IUCN Communications Division,

Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland

The designations of geographical entities in this report, and the presentation of the material, do no imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of IUCN concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

The views of the contributions expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of IUCN.

The text of this report is printed on Reprise Matt recycled paper.


CONTENTS

Preface

I Introduction: Karst environments and cave systems

II The importance of caves and karst

III Threats to caves and karst

IV Options in protection of karst

V Karst management at the regional and site level

VI International co-operation and liaison

VII Epilogue

VIII References and further reading

Appendices:

1. IUCN Categories and management objectives of protected areas

2. Membership of CNPPA Working Group on Cave and Karst Protection and other useful contacts

3. Glossary of terms

4. Summary of document in Spanish

5. Summary of document in French


PREFACE

Karst landforms and associated features such as caves are distributed widely throughout the world.

They have many values and many are located in various protected areas including several sites designated on the World Heritage register.

Some reasons for their protection include:

  • As habitat for endangered species of flora and fauna
  • As sites containing rare minerals or unique land forms.
  • Important sites for geologists, geomorphologists and palaeontologists
  • Culturally important sites, both historic and prehistoric
  • As spiritual or religious features.
  • For specialised agriculture and industries
  • As "windows" into understanding regional hydrology
  • /font>As sources of economically important materials
  • /font>For tourism and its associated economic benefits.
  • /font>As purely recreational areas, both scenic and challenging.

Karst and caves are indeed special places. They do however require special management considerations often extending well beyond the formal boundaries of protected areas in which the more obvious features fall.

Appropriate management expertise does not usually lie solely within the formal protected areas agencies - in fact there is no other landform type where such a high proportion of the specialised expertise lies outside such agencies, within the ranks of speleologists and cave explorers.

These guidelines have been prepared as a brief "aide-memoir for planners, managers and users of the karst estate. They are general guidelines or recommendations and the examples used reflect the first hand knowledge of those who have volunteered their time to contribute to their preparation. More specific guidelines and management plans for karst and caves will need to be prepared at a national, regional or site level. Such guidelines should involve local community input and ideally local endorsement.

These guidelines were prepared as an initial draft by a small group of speleologists and karst managers in Australia but with significant input and subsequent modification by other speleologists and protected area managers from around the world through the CNPPA Working Group on Cave and Karst Protection.

The Working Group is an informal grouping of scientists, managers, cavers and speleologists who see the need to improve the sharing of information and expertise between protected area managers, speleologists and other karst specialists. The group was formed at the Third World Congress on National Parks held in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1991. It has subsequently provided advice on cave and karst management to protected area managers and others. It has provided comment on several World Heritage nominations and it has prepared these guidelines - the first time such an overview has been produced at the global level.

We believe that these guidelines will make a significant contribution to our knowledge of the special management considerations essential for protection of caves and karst. They are a "first step" and the challenge now is for the national and site specific strategies to be developed in karst areas around the world.


I. INTRODUCTION - KARST ENVIRONMENTS AND CAVE SYSTEMS

Karst landscapes represent an important facet of the Earth�geodiversity, and one of major management significance. The term karst denotes a distinctive style of terrain that is characterised by individual landform types and landform assemblages that in large measure are the product of rock material having been dissolved by natural waters to a greater degree than is the norm in most landscapes.

All rock materials are soluble to a degree, but the most fully developed karst is naturally to be found in the most soluble rocks. Hence, karst is generally most fully evolved in carbonate rocks such as limestone and dolomite and evaporite rocks such as gypsum. Such rocks are present over perhaps 30% of the earth�surface but they vary in their susceptibility to karstification.

Given sufficient time and environmental stability, true karst phenomena also develop in what are generally considered to be relatively insoluble rocks, such as quartzites and quartz-sandstones, while karren like sculpturing occurs in granite and related rocks.

In some environments solution processes are overwhelmed by other geomorphic processes such as glacial erosion, in others solution is more dominant. Karst areas are best known for the underground drainage systems or solutional cave systems that often evolve there, but may also be characterised by intricately sculptured rock surfaces, or karren, closed depressions or sinkholes, residual hills, sinking streams and springs.

Such landscapes can offer an extraordinary variety of economic, scientific, educational, recreational and aesthetic resources. But they are also potentially highly sensitive, comparable in this respect to desert or coastal margins, and careful protective management is essential.


Two essential characteristics of karst must be taken into account in developing protective policies: its integrity is intimately dependent upon maintenance of the natural hydrological system; and karst is vulnerable to a distinctive set of environmental sensitivities.


Millions of people live in karst areas, some of which are among the most spectacular landscapes on earth but several have become highly degraded or permanently damaged. The availability of water is often a major determinant of settlement patterns and water management has often been a major factor in the long term survival of societies that dwell on karsts.


Many karst areas have been densely populated and heavily impacted for hundreds of years. Given the vulnerability of karst environments, extreme land and groundwater degradation has commonly occurred.


Careful management of the flow and condition of fluids (water and air) through cave systems is commonly critical to the successful management of caves. Safeguarding natural hydrogeochemical regimes is therefore fundamental to karst management. In turn, that implies careful management of the vegetation and soils of entire water catchment areas. Directions of underground drainage in karst areas are typically dictated by geological structures and surface topography can give a quite misleading picture - indeed in well developed karst there may be no consistent grain to the landscape. Dry valleys are common on the surface, underground waters often breach surface drainage divides underground, sometimes flowing from one valley to another and often flowing uphill under pressure in confined solution channels.

Flow times are often rapid, with opportunities for natural cleansing of polluted or sediment-laden groundwaters largely lacking and pathogenic organisms can often survive the travel time. To such fundamental management concerns must be added engineering difficulties. These commonly include difficult foundation conditions for buildings and other structures, ground surface collapse and leaky artificial reservoirs.

Given the heavy population pressures in some karsts, there are now relatively few places where the opportunity exists to safeguard truly pristine karst; over much of the earth the focus must now be on ameliorating the negative results of past and present management, and on restoration ecology.

Underground caves, often decorated by secondary carbonate speleothems such as stalactites and stalagmites, are for many the best known attributes of karst. However, not all caves are formed in carbonate or evaporite terrains. The most extensive subsurface drainage conduit networks and cave systems may well be formed in glacier ice; related caves and surface landforms similar to karst occur in snowpacks and in permafrost terrains. Caves and related features also occur in response to erosion by the sea or lakes on some coastlines. They also occur due to piping in some soils and in duricrust landscapes and due to flowage patterns in some young lava fields. In some instances karstic phenomena such as cave systems and karst-like rock towers can develop in quartzite and quartz-sandstone rocks. However, while selected issues of concern in karst management may also be relevant in some of these caves, the focus in these guidelines is upon true karst.


Their mysterious character and beauty has often caused attention to be focused specifically on caves and so diverted from the wider karst environment. Protection and management of the wider karst environment is important not only in its own right but also because it underpins the adequate protection of a cave or any other single element in a karst landscape.


II. THE IMPORTANCE OF CAVES AND KARST


In addition to the importance of retaining examples of karst landforms and landform assemblages as part of a strategy to safeguard global geodiversity, a number of economic human and scientific values may be present in karst areas. Hence, there may be a diversity of demands that are in conflict with one another.


ECONOMIC VALUES

Agriculture, forestry, water management, limestone extraction and tourism are among the many important forms of economic activity in karst areas.

Most of the world�population is dependent upon agriculture, and agriculture is ultimately dependent upon the upper few centimetres of the Earth�surface. Some karsts offer rich and highly productive soils that are utilised for both general and specialised agriculture. Millions of people live in karst areas, but karst soils are often particularly vulnerable due to degradation by a variety of karst-specific processes that add to the usual pressures on sustainable development of soil resources. Caves are used for some specialised forms of agriculture and industry, including fish breeding, mushroom growing and cheese production.

Some karsts are major water catchments for domestic supplies. In some karsts settlement patterns have been strongly influenced by sources of water. Ancient Mayan people made extensive use of caves and cenotes; more recently, major engineering works have been undertaken in the former Yugoslavia and in China. Irrigation, hydro-electric energy and fisheries are other major uses to which karst waters are put. Water supply may be particularly difficult to obtain in karst areas upstream of major springs, whether for agriculture or for human consumption. Pollutants can be transported rapidly through subsurface networks.

In some karsts major forest resources exist, or have previously existed. However, drought stress can be a significant constraint on silviculture, and forest removal can sometimes cause irreversible soil loss and hydrological changes.

Limestone is an important resource with application in many areas of agriculture and industry generally, and it is also used to ameliorate some forms of industrial pollution. Limestone extraction for building stone, agriculture or other industrial purposes is a common source of conflict with other karst users and values, and needs careful planning and execution. Important mineralisation has occurred in some karsts, and limestone terrain can be important to the oil industry.

Tourism is a major economic activity in some karsts, including the use of both developed and undeveloped caves, and surface scenery, thereby generating local employment. Remote appreciation is also possible by means of films, videos and photographic volumes, the production of which can be a significant component of some local economics.

In some parts of the world caves are used as sanitoria for respiratory and other ailments, especially where hot springs are also present, as at Banff and Budapest. Caves are still used for permanent residence, sometimes also used for shelter, and as sites of refuge from air raids or other military activities. The sustainability of such use often depends upon production of air and water quality.

SCIENTIFIC VALUES

A wide variety of scientific values exists in karst environments.

In terms of the earth sciences, karsts offer bedrock geologists clear exposures of lithological units, geological structures and minerals, and offer palaeontologists access to important fossil sites. Geomorphologists derive insight into landform evolution and climate change over broad areas from the morphology of particular caves and the study of climate change, a subject of both intrinsic and applied significance.

To the life scientist karst is important for its hosting of special plant and animal species and communities. Some karsts have served as refuges for species that have persisted underground through environmental changes which have eliminated their surface dwelling relatives. Bats are probably the creatures most commonly associated with caves, but a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate animals inhabit karst, some of which may have only small population numbers or be highly adapted to the constancy of the underground environment. In many, but not all karsts, environmental conditions underground can be very constant and cave species may have little tolerance to subsurface environmental change. Subfossil palaeontology is often also an important value.

Karsts serve an important habitat function, and, given the specialised nature of karst environments, they are often a focus of endangered species. In addition to plant and animal species, they are also the site of rare and sometimes endangered mineral species and landform types.

HUMAN VALUES

Some karsts are important for spiritual, religious, aesthetic, recreational and educational reasons.

In many parts of the world animist and/or traditional societies attach considerable importance to certain caves and other limestone landforms as in the case of Mayan use of caves as temples. Many Hindu and Buddhist societies have established underground temples in caves. Some Buddhist communities build temples that mimic caves, as with the great temple of Sokkurum in South Korea and temples built in Rangoon for the World Buddhist Conference. In some cases spiritual values relate to underground waters. Mayan priests prayed for assistance in water management to the water god Chac. Certain karst springs such as those at Mukinath in Nepal are sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus. For Christians too some caves are of considerable spiritual importance, such as the grotto at Lourdes. Few western tourist caves lack a "cathedral chamber", further emphasising the spiritual connections some feel with cave environments. Around the world caves continue to be used as burial sites, and places of worship continue to be erected amid karst, including the karst towers of Southern China.

Many of the world�most scenic environments owe much of their appeal to karstic phenomena, including many mountain areas that draw walkers, climbers, photographers, artists and nature lovers. Caving is a significant recreational activity in some parts of the world, while every year countless millions of people visit developed tourist caves.

The various economic, spiritual and scientific values of karst are often readily demonstrated in a compact area, and commonly make caves and karst areas splendid exemplars for education. In few environments are the ecological chains of cause and affect, and environmental determinants on human society, so clearly evident.

Cultural resource management is often an important consideration in karst areas. Some springs and caves have long served as foci for human activity. Some caves have become a palimpsest in which is recorded, layer by layer, in sediment or in art upon the cave walls, the evolution of societies. The prehistoric legacy found in some caves is well known and has contributed in a major way to knowledge of our ancestors. The historical archaeology of some karsts is also important, including such features as water reticulation systems established in some Chinese karsts.

Considerable heritage value is attached to the built environment in some karst areas, ranging from some prehistoric constructions in caves to some cave resorts in Europe and the distinctive cave associated tourist hotels of Australia and the USA.

Guideline

1. Effective planning for karst regions demands a balanced consideration of economic, scientific and human values, within the local cultural and political context and in a way which is congruent with that context.

 


III. THREATS TO CAVES AND KARST


It is fundamentally important to recognise that the proper protection of caves and karst is not just a matter of preserving interesting, beautiful or scientifically interesting natural features. In most cases, it has far-reaching environmental implications which in turn generate significant economic impacts. Proper management of karst is an essential element of water resources management.


Caves and karsts are especially vulnerable and probably more so than most other land resources. In the first place, the integrity of any karst system is dependent upon a specific kind of relationship between water and land; this water is often drawn from a wide catchment area; any perturbation in the hydrologic system will threaten the karst and those caves which have a continuing relationship to the water levels. At the same time, any damage to the integrity of a karst system will have far-reaching hydrologic impacts. It also needs to be recognised that groundwater divides and catchment boundaries may not coincide with surface divides.

Secondly, many other caves, left abandoned by the original formative waters as groundwater levels have been lowered, will be relatively dry, relatively static in character and essentially non-renewable. Most of the non-limestone caves, e.g., volcanic caves, also fall into this latter grouping. However, dripwater flows and catchment hydrology remain significant to both the geochemical processes within caves and cave biota, and more particularly through the influence which moisture exerts upon cave microclimates.

The implied distinction here between those caves with a continuing relationship to the water-table and those which have been abandoned by the water and stand clear from it also points to a further distinction. Many caves, particularly those with active streams or seasonal flooding, are subject to high levels of kinetic energy which cause continuing change within the cave. These changes in turn often quickly eliminate the evidence of other lesser changes, such as those caused by entry of visitors. However, other caves may have extremely low energy throughputs; in many cases, the major energy inputs may only be, for instance, the excreta of cave crickets and circadian air movements. In such a low energy system, the impact of human entry, no matter how carefully managed, may be considerable.

We can also point to a continuum of threats from the very direct threats of physical change, e.g., the total destruction of a cave by quarrying to the indirect threats, where, for instance, the use of a cave for recreation results in gradual but unrelenting compaction of floors and so to extinction of that cave fauna which is dependent upon the environment provided by uncompacted floors. Although it is difficult to set a clear boundary between these, we will endeavour below to deal with each topic in a sequence which reflects its place in such a continuum.

TOTAL DESTRUCTION

Caves or even major karst landscapes may be totally destroyed by mining, quarrying, being bulldozed aside to make way for engineering works or other developments, being submerged below artificial water storage, or filled in order to eliminate the cavity of a cave. These issues are amongst the most obvious of threats, occur with increasing frequency, and often generate major conflicts over land use.

MAJOR LAND OR HYDROLOGIC DISTURBANCE

Forestry, quarrying, land clearance, construction and other developmental activities may, without causing any direct destruction, so impact upon the land as to cause major disruption of karst systems. Changes in the nature of soil cover, siltation of waterways (even from activities far outside of the actual karst landscape), diversion of or changes in water flow and changes in vegetation cover can all have major impacts. Excessive withdrawing of water from an aquifer may well result in lowering of the water level, sometimes with disastrous consequences costing many millions of dollars. Extractive industries such as speleothem harvesting, guano mining or birdsnest harvesting also result in massive impacts, particularly upon eco-systems within caves.

POLLUTION

Pollution, whether by water-soluble compounds, microbial transmission, siltation or simply by dumping of large-scale wastes leads to a similar problem. Many examples of problems due to groundwater pollution have been documented, probably commencing with the 1854 cholera epidemic in Britain but continuing to the present day. The comparatively rapid transmission of groundwater flows in karst provides little opportunity for natural filtering or other purifying effects, and so problems such as disease transmission may arise much more readily than in other terrain. Again, the source of the pollution may be located far outside of the karst area itself but can still have devastating impacts.

HUMAN UTILISATION OF CAVES

There are a remarkable range of human uses of caves per se. These include military purposes (for storage, shelter, guerrilla tactics, putative nuclear shelters, etc.), religious observance or monument, sanitoria, burial, manufacturing, water storage, dwelling sites, mushroom farming, cheese-making, wine-making, smuggling, various aspects of scientific research, tourism in a range of forms, concert auditoria, and recreation at a number of levels. Some of these uses are of cultural significance, often enduring over many centuries. These traditional uses raise the oft-cited paradox that yesterday�great art is today�graffiti; both involve people drawing upon cave walls but their location in time gives them totally different meanings. Similarly, a present day proposal to establish a cheese factory in a European cave would probably meet with significant opposition, but it is extremely doubtful whether anybody would seriously propose discontinuing cheese manufacture at the Roquefort Cave.

These uses result in a wide range of impacts:

  • alteration of the physical structure of the cave
  • alteration of cave hydrology
  • alteration of air movements and micro-climate
  • compaction or liquefaction of floors
  • destruction of speleothems
  • destruction of fauna
  • introduction of alien organisms or materials (e.g., concrete, climbing aids), pollutants, nutrients, animal species, algae & fungi
  • surface impacts, e.g., erosion, siltation, vegetation change

We note that these impacts may be independent of each other, cumulative or synergistic and further that there are a series of complex relationships between the number of visitors to a cave at any one time, the frequency of visits and the resulting impact.


Caves and karst are amongst the most vulnerable of landforms, and are often subject to degradation as a result of phenomena or events which occur at a considerable distance. Their effective protection and management therefore requires consideration and action at both regional and local levels.


Guidelines

2. The integrity of any karst system depends upon an interactive relationship between land and water. Any interference with this relationship is likely to have undesirable impacts, and should be subjected to thorough environmental assessment.

3. Land managers should identify the total catchment area of any karst lands, and be sensitive to the potential impact of any activities within the catchment, even if not on the karst itself.

4. Destructive actions in karst, such as quarrying or dam construction, should be located so as to minimise conflict with other resource values.

5. Pollution of groundwater poses special problems in karst and should always be minimised.

6. All other human uses of karst areas should be planned to minimise undesirable impacts, and monitored in order to inform future decision-making.

7. While recognising the non-renewable nature of many karst features, particularly within caves, good management demands that damaged features be restored in so far as is practicable.

IV. OPTIONS IN PROTECTION OF KARST


Protection of karst features has all too often focused upon caves, and not given adequate consideration to the need for protection and proper management of the total karst area as a land unit.


The nature of karst and caves is such that either may occur in, and be appropriately protected by, any one of the available categories of protected area. So, in any one country, the category of protected area utilised for cave protection should be chosen to meet the protection needs of the site concerned.

Where a karst area as a whole, or any part of such an area, is under consideration, the protection strategy chosen should provide for protection of the total catchment wherever possible. Where this is not realistically achievable, there should at least be an extensive buffer surrounding the key features to be protected. Where a significant part of the catchment lies outside of the protected area boundaries, then consideration should also be given to the use of environmental controls or to total catchment management agreements under planning or water management legislation to safeguard the quantity and quality of water inputs to the karst system.

At the other extreme, some karst phenomena such as an occurrence of a specific form of karren that should be safeguarded, catchment issues may be less prominent. In the rare case of a single and perhaps isolated cave, standing clear of the water-table, it may be that adequate protection might be achieved by a geological monument or historic site reservation. However, in virtually all cases attention must be given to the safeguarding of groundwater catchments and local seepage.

High priority in protection should be given to areas or sites:

  • having high natural, social or cultural value
  • possessing a wide range of values within the one site
  • which have suffered minimal environmental degradation
  • of a type not already represented in the protected areas system of their country

A special issue arises in relation to the protection of cave values. In a situation where there is long-established use of the surface land, but a major cave system lies below, it may not be necessary to change existing land-use if the cave can be protected in some other way. Theoretically, legislative provision might be made for the reservation of protected areas comprising only all that land which is, for example, more than 5 metres below the surface together with a small surface reservation to provide for access control to the subterranean protected area. However, even if such an approach were adopted, attention must still be paid to the issues of water and air flows related to the cave system. More importantly, the long-term impacts of existing land-uses should be carefully assessed prior to any such decision and the legislative provision for this kind of protection should be fully integrated with other land protection legislation.

The possibility has often been raised of establishing an "underground wilderness�rea. These proposals essentially argue for declaration of an area which will only be entered (perhaps by a limited number) under minimum impact conditions, comparable with the restrictions placed upon existing wilderness areas on the surface. The concept may work effectively in a high energy cave system, but is problematic in any low energy system. It is essentially a zoning concept or management tool based upon and responding to the recreational and/or research demands at a particular point in time rather than upon long-term protection of environmental resources. Although such protection has properly been instituted over a number of important caves in order to reduce the impact of entry, the term "wilderness raises unrealistic expectations. While surface wilderness in some environments may have high re-generative capacities, the regenerative capacity of a low energy cave system is, within a human time scale, zero. Even minimal and sensitive entry will result in impacts, and these will generally be both irreversible and cumulative.

Special consideration needs to be given to the protection of karst areas which, for one reason or another, may legitimately not be included within protected areas. However, any actions or phenomena within these areas may well have impacts elsewhere. Such areas should be identified by land managers, and where necessary, planning controls or programs of public education might be introduced to ensure appropriate management. Consideration should also be given to heritage agreements or covenants instituted by landowners and these should be appropriately recognised and rewarded by state land management policies.


As in many aspects of protected area management, the establishment of protected areas is not enough in itself. The management of karst demands specific interdisciplinary expertise and this is in the early stages of development in most countries. Management agencies should recognise the importance of this expertise and take advantage of inter-agency or international co-operation in order to enhance their own capacity.


Guidelines

8. Governments should ensure that an appropriate selection of karst sites is declared as protected areas under appropriate legislation.

9. High priority in protection should be given to areas or sites having high natural, social or cultural value; possessing a wide range of values within the one site; which have suffered minimal environmental degradation; and/or of a type not already represented in the protected areas system of their country.

10. Where possible, total catchment areas should be included within the protected areas boundary.

11. Where such coverage is not possible, consideration should be given to the use of environmental controls or total catchment management agreements under planning or water management legislation to safeguard the quantity and quality of water inputs to the karst system.

12. Land managers should identify karst areas not included within protected areas and give consideration to safeguarding the values of these areas by such means as planning controls, programs of public education, heritage agreements or covenants.

13. Management agencies should seek to develop their expertise and capacity for karst management and recognise the value of inter-agency or international co-operation.

V. MANAGEMENT AT THE REGIONAL AND SITE LEVEL

Karst landforms, including caves, are the direct result of the operation of the limestone solution process over long periods of geologic time. Nearly all of the karst solution process is moderated by factors operating on the surface of the karst and in the subcutaneous zone. Surface vegetation regulates the flow of water into the underlying karst through interception, the control of litter and roots on soil infiltration, and the biogenic production of carbon dioxide in the root zone. The metabolic uptake of water by plants, especially trees, may regulate the quantity of water available to feed cave formations. Trees in particular are like large carbon dioxide pumps, releasing 20-25% of the atmospheric gas uptake through root respiration. Thus clearfelling of forests, or major changes consequent on plantation establishment, may radically change the flow and quality of water in the karst. Soil erosion in excess of the natural rates may infill streamsinks, dolines or joints. Changes to surface drainage resulting from contour banking, irrigation or river regulation may interrupt or drastically reduce the supply of karst water. The release of fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides from agricultural activities may compromise cave ecosystems beyond their capacity to recover. Water is the primary mechanism for the transferral of surface actions to become subsurface impacts.


Karst management must be holistic in its approach and should aim to maintain the quality and quantity of water and air movement through the subterranean environment as well as the surface.


Guidelines

14. Managers of karst areas should recognise that these landscapes are complex three-dimensional integrated natural systems comprised of rock, water, soil, vegetation and atmosphere elements. Equally management of specific cave sites should recognise this complexity.

15. Management in karst should aim to maintain natural flows and cycles of air and water through the landscape in balance with prevailing climatic and biotic regimes. Management in caves should equally aim at the maintenance of natural flows.

16. Managers should recognise that in karst, surface actions may be rapidly translated into impacts underground and elsewhere.


In general, karst systems develop over geological timescales which must inevitably include significantly different environments from that of today. Some karst systems will thus be so out of phase with prevailing conditions that they have no capacity to regenerate. Other systems may have some capacity to regenerate but this may entail timescales greater than that of individual human generations. Caves and their contents (speleothems, sediments and bones) may have been formed or empleaded under different climate regimes and may remain unaltered for millennia. These may require specific management attention because of their fragility.


Guidelines

17. Pre-eminent amongst karst processes is the cascade of carbon dioxide from low levels in the external atmosphere through greatly enhanced levels in the soil atmosphere to reduced levels in cave passages. Elevated soil carbon dioxide levels depend on plant root respiration, microbial activity and a healthy soil invertebrate fauna. This cascade must be maintained for the effective operation of karst solution processes.

18. The mechanism by which this is achieved is the interchange of air and water between surface and underground environments. Hence the management of both quality and quantity of both air and water is the keystone of effective management at regional, local and site specific scales. Development on the surface must take into account the infiltration pathways of water.

Pollutants readily enter karst drainage systems and are rapidly transmitted in cave conduits. The range of likely pollutants and their relative importance are given in Table 1. There is a great potential for hydrologic change within developed karst tourism sites due to the construction of pathways, entrance structures, car parks and toilets. Above a cave, the surfacing of the land with concrete or bitumen renders it nearly impermeable, in contrast to the high natural porosity of karst. Thus the feedwater for stalactites may be drastically reduced or eliminated. Drains may alter flow patterns and may deliver additional percolation water to certain areas of a cave, causing changes in speleothem deposition. One way to minimise these effects is to use gravel surfaced carparks or to include infiltration strips and cross drains in the carpark design. Similarly, pathways may need to be hardened for foot traffic, but this should be permeable (gravel, raised walkways, pavers) rather than concrete or bitumen. Toilet facilities may leak into karst fissures or conduits. There are many tourist sites where sewage reticulation or septic tank systems have leaked or overflowed into caves. There is a growing trend to use either pump-out toilet systems, where wastes are dispersed as sprays or sludges away from the karst, or composting toilets where residues are dehydrated and may be subsequently used as fertiliser.

Guideline

19. Management should aim to maintain the natural transfer rates of fluids, including gases, through the integrated network of cracks, fissures and caves in the karst. The nature of materials introduced must be carefully considered to avoid adverse impacts on air and water quality.

There are numerous examples of accelerated soil erosion on karst areas world-wide. Limestone soils tend to be shallow and stony with low to moderate nutrient holding capacity because of excessive leaching due to free drainage. There is thus a strong tendency for de-vegetated or heavily used limestone soils to erode down to bedrock surfaces quite rapidly. This soil stripping can be seen in the classic karst of the Burren, Ireland; the Dinaric karst; the Guizhou polygonal karst of China; and the karst of Vancouver Island, B.C. The process started some 2000 years ago in Greece and continues today in many limestone areas. Eroded soil material is rapidly transferred underground to block passages, divert or impound cave streams, or smother cave life. Soil erosion control is therefore a high priority for karst managers, and much depends on the effectiveness of re-vegetation. In many karst areas naturally evolved native forests have been cleared and replaced with monospecific plantation forests, often coniferous. These plantations have higher basal area and often higher water demand per hectare than the forests they replace. Thus there may be a reduction in the flow of percolation water to the karst system, as well as some sediment transfer associated with felling and road construction. Caves underlying introduced coniferous forest have high root biomasses visible and are relatively dry. There is usually accelerated soil loss and tree decline associated with forestry operation on karst. On Vancouver Island, British Columbia, forests clearfelled since 1900 have only regained 17% of the original timber volume after 75 years, and soil depth loss ranges from a mean of 25% five years after logging to 60% after ten years. Clear guidelines for forestry operations on karst need to be developed and adhered to.

Guidelines

20. Soil management must aim to minimise erosive loss and alteration of soil properties such as aeration, aggregate stability, organic matter content and a healthy soil biota.

21. Pivotal to the prevention of erosion and maintenance of critical soil properties is the presence of a stable vegetation cover.

The rugged nature and physical isolation of most karst landscapes ensures that they act as refuges for rare or endangered species, such as leaf-eating monkeys in Vietnam and cave-adapted animals such as salamanders and blind fish in North America. Karst landscapes have a high importance for the maintenance of biodiversity and there are still opportunities to protect the habitats of these organisms. In many ways karsts are buffered against climate change and their biota are less vulnerable in climates characterised by high natural variability. There is often a high degree of endemism in karst biota. Many karst areas preserve relict populations of organisms whose distributions were much greater during past colder or wetter climatic regimes.

Guidelines

22. Because of the importance of karst areas as biological refuges, further fragmentation by road construction and similar activities should be avoided. If this is unavoidable, then corridors for animal dispersal should be maintained as a high priority. Within caves both terrestrial and aquatic fauna are best protected by the preservation of air and water quality. Accelerated stream siltation and compaction of sediments by visitors may be detrimental to cave fauna. The infrastructure of tourist caves (paths, steps, lights) should be designed to avoid decomposition and the release of either toxic substances or additional energy sources into the cave environment.

23. Climate change has occurred over geological timescales within which karst systems have evolved. Human intervention has the potential to alter climate in ways that may radically affect natural karst processes. Management prescriptions must be flexible, must recognise this possibility and must maximise the resilience of the system. The effects of high magnitude - low frequency events such as floods, fires and earthquakes must be recognised in management strategies at regional, local and site-specific scales.

Karst waters can be viewed as a type of wild rivers where the drainage network is not as obvious as in surface streams, and there is complexity in hydrological linkages and in flow regimes. In many mountain areas the highest parts of karst catchments are still forested and inaccessible. In such areas both water quantity and quality are maintained along with the integrity of ecosystems.


It is estimated that one quarter of the world�population gain their water supplies from karst, either from discrete springs of from karst groundwater. The maintenance of water quality in karst can be viewed as a common good which is becoming increasingly important in those areas where rural populations are increasing rapidly and the settlement of karst is well established.


In other areas, such as China and the Philippines, recent settlement of karst terrain is creating both opportunities and constraints for sustainable management of karst resources, especially water and soil.

Guideline

24. Establishment and maintenance of karst protected areas can contribute to the protection of both the quality and quantity of groundwater resources for human use. Catchment protection is necessary both on the karst and on contributing non-karst areas. Activities within caves may have detrimental effects on regional groundwater quality.

The karst catchment boundary is not a single line that can be represented on a map, but a zone which has a dynamic outer boundary dependent on local details of surficial geology and weather conditions. It is more useful to think of a core catchment area, within which flow will usually be directed to a particular cave network, and a peripheral or buffer catchment area which may be activated periodically. If the precautionary principle applies in karst research or management, then the larger catchment may provide a truer representation of the sources for the karst drainage network. The catchment of a karst drainage system is usually much larger than just the area of limestone outcrop and the obvious non-karstic contributing catchment.

Defining the contributing catchment of a cave may be difficult if not impossible in some cases. A minimalist approach would be to define the catchment as the area of limestone outcrop. This neglects the possibility that the limestone is continuous though not outcropping in a given terrain, or that surrounding non-karstic rocks are contributing significant quantities of water by surface or subsurface flow. In many cases a thick mantle of colluvium lies over the limestone and directly feeds cave systems. This is especially true in areas which were formerly glaciated or which have been subject to repeated mass movements over geologic time. The elucidation of the drainage network of Mammoth Cave, Kentucky was the result of over twenty years�nvestigation and hundreds of dye tracing experiments. Subterranean breaches of surface drainage divides are often the norm rather than the exception, and the exact conditions for the activation of conduits may depend on storm events or antecedent rainfall. In many cases palaeokarst conduits may be re-activated. Thus the definition of a karst catchment is imprecise and must have a dynamic boundary to take account of extreme events. This is best achieved by constructing buffer zones around limestone massifs, in which any change to land use must be preceded by investigations of the drainage network and its dynamics using repeated planned dye-tracing experiments. Under these circumstances

"One well-designed tracer test, properly done, and correctly interpreted, is worth 1000 expert opinions or 100 computer simulations of groundwater flow"

(Quinlan, 1990).

Guideline

25. Catchment boundaries commonly extend beyond the limits of the rock units in which the karst has formed. Definition of the whole karst drainage network depends on planned water tracing experiments and cave mapping. The boundary of this extended catchment can fluctuate dramatically according to weather conditions. Fossil cave passages can be reactivated following heavy rain.

For karst areas, the concept of total catchment management becomes more vital than in many other lithologies. This involves the co-ordinated management and utilisation of physical resources of land, water and vegetation within the boundaries of a catchment to ensure sustainable use and to minimise land degradation. Proper environmental management on karst terrains rests on a base of public acceptance that clear linkages exist between surface and underground systems, and that these linkages are of fundamental importance to karst system function.

Guideline

26. More than in any other landscape, a total catchment management regime must be adopted in karst areas. Activities undertaken at specific sites may have wider ramifications in the catchment due to the ease of transfer of materials in karst.

Limestone and marble are quarried world-wide and used for cement manufacture, as high grade building stone, for agricultural lime, and for abrasives. Most resource conflict over limestone mining revolves around visual and water pollution, as well as loss of recreational amenity and conservation values. Limestone bodies with high relief are ideal for mining and are often the most cavernous, and there is often conflict and compromise when there is a high community expectation of continued access to this resource as well as a strong conservation movement.

Guideline

27. Recognising that the extraction of rocks, soil, vegetation and water will clearly interrupt the processes that produce and maintain karst, such uses must be carefully planned and executed to minimise environmental impact. Extractive industries may be incompatible with the preservation of natural and cultural heritage.

Fire management on limestone areas is a contentious subject, especially when severe wildfires have caused loss of life or property. In traditional societies fire is widely used as a vegetation clearance tool. Most karsts have a low natural fire frequency due to the shielding effects of limestone outcrops, reduced ground cover and often a more dense canopy with rainforest elements in the flora. In the impounded karsts of eastern Australia, natural fire frequencies are poorly documented but the fire interval may be 35 to 50 years or greater. Under these conditions relict vegetation types may survive, for example the vine thickets of north Queensland or rainforest remnants in Thailand. In Britain there are rare fern species which are now largely restricted to limestone outcrops. In these karsts sediment transport only occurs immediately after fires, with minimal soil erosion in the intervening periods. Hazard reduction burning is widely used by land managers, but may have major deleterious effects on karst areas. In Australia many authorities aim to burn individual areas on a five to seven year cycle. This increased frequency reduces the fuel load but promotes more fire tolerant vegetation, principally shrubs which are often more flammable than the understory of grasses and herbs that is replaced. Thus there is potential for changes to the hydrology of the underlying karst. Although there may be a management prescription to avoid burning limestone outcrops, there may be inadvertent escape of fires into sensitive areas due to weather changes. There is a distinct possibility of increased stream siltation and cave sedimentation. A careful zoning of fire management, aided by careful mapping of past fire boundaries with buffers around karst areas, may help to reduce these impacts. Elucidation of fire histories using sedimentary charcoal in caves is a promising avenue for research.

Guideline

28. Imposed fire regimes on karst should, as far as is practicable, mimic those occurring naturally if the aim of management is sustainable land use.

Human visiting of caves may have a significant cumulative impact upon physical and biological values at both the site level and regional level (Spate and Hamilton-Smith, 1991). There is therefore a need to prepare and implement management plans that provide access to caves, ensure appropriate limits on visitor numbers where necessary, and institute both minimal impact visitor practices and suitable tracks or other means to protect the environment.

Guideline

29. Human visiting of caves and karst may be irreversibly damaging particularly when cumulative over time. Management planning should recognise this fact and seek to minimise visitor impacts and maximise environmental protection.


TABLE 1 Sources of water pollution in karst (modified from White, 1988:389)

Source

Oxygen demand

Nitrogen, Phosphates

Chlorides

Heavy metals

Hydrocarbons organic complexes

Bacteria, viruses

Domestic and municipal waste

 

 

 

 

Septic tanks

...

..

 

 

 

...

Outhouses or privies

...

..

 

 

 

...

Sewage lines

..

.

 

 

 

..

Landfills

...

.

.

...

..

..

Dumps in sinkholes

.

..

.

..

..

...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agricultural wastes

 

 

 

 

Feedlots

...

...

 

 

 

...

Fertiliser leaching

 

...

 

 

 

 

Insecticides and herbicides

 

 

 

 

...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction and mining

 

 

 

 

Salting of roads

 

 

...

 

 

 

Mine tailings

 

 

 

...

 

 

Carpark runoff

 

 

...

.

..

 

Oil fields

 

 

...

 

...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Industrial

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petroleum storage

 

 

 

 

...

 

Chemical dumps

 

.

 

...

...

 

Chemical wastes

 

 

.

...

...

 

Note: Number of dots indicates very approximate severity of pollution threat

(page break)

VI. INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION AND LIAISON

There are a range of levels at which international co-operation and liaison may be of considerable assistance:

INFORMATION EXCHANGE

At the simplest, exchange of information may well further the work of those concerned to ensure protection of natural resources. This may take place through exchange of publications, use of electronic media, meeting at conferences or seminars, study visits, and doubtless many other means. This set of guidelines is in itself an example, having been developed for this purpose by the IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas.

The International Union of Speleology, with its membership network of national speleological organisations, can and does play a particularly important role in fostering such exchange. In particular it provides a forum which brings together both professional scientists and recreational cave explorers and surveyors. Its Speleological Abstracts (Bulletin Bibliogaphique Spologique) provides a continually improving access to world literature. Further, its documentation commission is developing comparable protocols for cave and karst databases, making extensive use of electronic media in doing so.

Other scientific organisations, such as the International Geographic Union, foster and integrate scientific understanding of karst and caves. They also play a fundamentally important role in information exchange. The International Show Caves Association and the newly established International Speleological Heritage Association may also prove valuable, particularly as resources for public education.

The development of expertise within management agencies and the establishment of national or regional bodies, such as the American Cave Conservation Association or the Australasian Cave & Karst Management Association, centrally concerned with cave and karst management or conservation, is also providing an important opportunity to integrate knowledge and understanding as a basis for further dissemination of expertise through information exchange.

TECHNICAL ADVICE AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT

Those with specialised knowledge and experience in cave and karst protection may well undertake advisory, consultancy or training roles in furthering the protection of cave and karst areas. The various organisations already referred to above provide an avenue for the identification of appropriate experts.

JOINT ACTION

Two or more authorities or even countries may well work under joint-actions agreements to share responsibility in protection and management. One well-known example involves the great Aggtelek karst of central Europe, where close co-operation between two national governments has provided for protection and management of an outstanding karst resource. Such an arrangement provides for holistic management of a specific resource and for congruent strategies to be adopted which span national or other boundaries.

On a smaller but much more widespread basis, responsibility for a karst catchment is often divided between two or more different management tenures. The development of total catchment management policies and programmes on a co-operative basis is vital for adequate protection of the resource in these situations.

At another level, the establishment of inter-agency partnerships (perhaps best practice partnerships - a growing trend in park management) can further the capacity of all parties.

POLICY DEVELOPMENT

One of the areas in which international information exchange is important is the development of protected area policies. Although these are often generalised and do not deal specifically with particular kinds of resource, e.g., karst, an increasing number of management agencies do have documented karst management policies. There may also be well-recognised policies and practices in place which have not been made explicit in any formal document.

PROTECTED AREAS INFORMATION

Although many cave and karst areas have been included in protected areas (e.g., in USA, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan), there is no systematic documentation of which areas are protected in this way. There is also a need to identify major unprotected areas which deserve recognition. An appropriate data base, perhaps at the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, should be established at an early date.

WORLD HERITAGE

A number of cave and karst sites have been recognised under the World Heritage Convention, but this may have been for reasons other than their status as karst sites. A review of existing recognised sites should be undertaken in order to (a) clarify the application of the heritage criteria to karst sites, and (b) identify high-value sites not yet included so that the respective governments might be encouraged to nominate them.


International Co-operation can play a vital role in strengthening the karst protection and management capacity of land management agencies and in ensuring integrated protection on a world basis.


Guidelines

30. International, regional and national organisations concerned with aspects of karst protection and management should recognise the importance of international co-operation and do what they can to disseminate and share expertise.

31. The documentation of cave and karst protection/management policies should be encouraged, and such policies made widely available to other management authorities.

32. A data base should be prepared listing cave and karst areas included within protected areas, but also identifying major unprotected areas which deserve recognition. Karst values of existing and potential World Heritage sites should be similarly recorded.

VII. EPILOGUE

Karst and caves are very special places, each unique in its own way and yet highly dependent upon wider influences over which protected area managers may have very limited control.

It must be stressed once more that the guidelines presented above must always be applied in a local context. This will include cognisance of local biodiversity and geodiversity, plus sensitivity towards socio-economic and political factors.

Hopefully the guidelines will provide managers and planners with useful aids towards improving community knowledge of karst and caves, and hence having a better opportunity for local acceptance of and involvement in improved protection and management. The guidelines should also assist in preparation of more specific guidelines and management plans at a national, regional or site level.

This volume is a first attempt to bring together as many key issues as possible relating to karst and cave protection in a relatively small booklet. Hopefully it will be widely distributed and widely used. Constructive criticism is earnestly sought so that upon revision we can improve upon karst and cave protection.

Meanwhile, the CNPPA Working Group on Cave and Karst Protection will continue to provide advice to the best of its ability, if only to direct requests for help to known sources of special expertise. We welcome your ongoing interest and support.

VIII. REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

There is an absolutely voluminous literature on caves, karst and cave exploration. We have listed below a few "benchmark" references only. Access to extensive bibliographies may be obtained through the organisations listed in Appendix 2.

Bogli, A., 1980. Karst hydrology and physical speleology, Berlin, Springer.

Camacho, Ana Isabel, 1992. The Natural History of Biospeleology, Madrid, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales.

Chapman, P., 1993. Caves and Cave Life, London, Harper Collins.

Fenton, M. B., 1983. Just Bats, Toronto, University of Toronto Press

Ford, D. C. and Williams, P. W., 1989. Karst Geomorphology and Hydrology London, Unwin Hyman Ltd, 601pp.

Jennings, J. N., 1985. Karst Geomorphology, Oxford, Basil Blackwell Ltd, 293pp.

Maire, R., 1981. Synthese hydrogeologique et karstologieque, Spelunca Suppl. 3, 23-30

Quinlan, J., 1990. Special problems of ground-water monitoring in karst terrains, In Nielsen, D. M. and Johnson, A. I. (Eds), Ground Water and Vadose Zone Monitoring, ASTM, STP 1053, pp 275 - 304.

Spate, A. and Hamilton-Smith, E., 1991. Cavers�mpacts - some theoretical and applied considerations. In Bell, P., (Ed). Proceedings of the Ninth ACMA Conference, Margaret River, Western Australia, September 1991, Australasian Cave and Karst Management Association.

Stebbings, R. E., 1988. Conservation of European Bats, London, Christopher Helm.

Trudgill, S., 1985. Limestone Geomorphology, London, Longmans.

White, W. B., 1988. Geomorphology and hydrology of carbonate terrains, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


APPENDIX 1

Categories and management objectives of protected areas

I. Strict Nature Reserve / Wilderness Area: protected area managed mainly for science or wilderness protection.

To protect nature and maintain natural processes in an undisturbed state in order to have ecologically representative examples of the natural environment available for appreciation, scientific study, environmental monitoring, education, and for the maintenance of genetic resources in a dynamic and evolutionary state.

II. National Park: protected area managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation.

To protect outstanding natural and scenic areas of national or international significance for scientific, educational, and recreational use. These are relatively large natural areas not materially altered by human activity where extractive uses are not allowed.

III. Natural Monument: protected area managed mainly for conservation of specific natural features.

To protect and preserve nationally significant natural features because of their special interest or unique characteristics. These are relatively small areas focused on protection of specific features.

IV. Habitat/Species Management Area: protected area managed mainly for conservation through management intervention.

To assure the natural conditions necessary to protect nationally significant species, groups of species, biotic communities, or physical features of the environment where these may require specific human manipulation for their perpetuation.

V. Protected Landscapes and Seascapes: protected areas managed mainly for landscape / seascape conservation and recreation.

To maintain nationally significant natural landscapes which are characteristic of the harmonious interaction of humans and land while providing opportunities for public enjoyment through recreation and tourism within the normal life style and economic activity of these areas. These are mixed cultural/natural landscapes of high scenic value where traditional land uses are maintained.

VI. Managed Resource Protected Area: protected area managed mainly for the sustainable use of natural ecosystems.

To protect the natural resources of the area for future use and prevent or contain development activities that are not sustainable.

Note: World Heritage sites (natural) and Biosphere Reserves are not listed as categories in their own right but are international designations recorded nationally under one of the above categories of protected area.


APPENDIX 2

CNPPA Working Group on Cave and Karst Protection

The CNPPA Working Group on Cave and Karst Protection includes cave managers, speleologists, administrators, researchers and protected area managers from throughout the world who share a common concern for the future of caves and karst resources and who support the following:

1. Caves, associated underground systems, surface karst, are important components of the biosphere with widespread global distribution.

2. Such areas are specially valuable for conservation, scientific research (biological, geological and anthropological), religious and spiritual purposes, recreation and tourism.

3. Such areas are particularly vulnerable to damage and pollution and therefore require careful protection and sensitive management, including surface catchment areas.

4. The considerable body of expert knowledge on cave and karst management within national and international speleological societies needs to be better known and applied by protected area management agencies.

A primary aim of the Working Group is to prepare and update as necessary guidelines on cave/karst protection.

Involvement in the Working Group is on a purely voluntary basis and the group has no formal operating budget. The Working Group welcomes new contributors who can help with its aims either directly of indirectly.

Enquiries and further information may be obtained from

DR JOHN WATSON

CNPPA WORKING GROUP ON CAVE AND KARST PROTECTION

44 SERPENTINE ROAD

ALBANY

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 6330

Fax No: 61 98 413329

Tel No: 61 98 417133


Membership as at January 1996

Susan Anderson

Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust

PO Box 1225

Kingston

Jamaica

West Indies

Eugenio de Bellard Pietri

Apartado 80.210

Prados Del Este

Caracas

Venuzuela 1080-A

Dr Brian Finlayson

Dept of Geography

University of Melbourne

Parkville

Victoria 3052

Australia

Arthur S Garcia

Dept of Environmental and Natural Resources

Cleofers Building

Gen Hizon Avenue

San Fernando

Pampamga

Philippines

Dr David Gillieson

University College

ADFA

Campbell

ACT 2601

Australia

Elery Hamilton-Smith

PO Box 36

Carlton South

Victoria 3053

Australia

Paul Hardwick

Limestone Research Group

University of Huddersfield

Queensgate

Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK

George Huppert

American Cave Conservation Association

Dept of Geography & Earth Science

University of Wisconsin

La Crosse

Wisconsin 54601

USA

Dr Julia James

Dept of Inorganic Chemistry

University of Sydney

NSW 2006

Australia

Kevin Kiernan

Tasmanian Forestry Commission

30 Patrick Street

Hobart TAS 7000

Australia

M Olivier Langrand

WWF Madagascar

BP 738

Antananarivo 101

Madagascar

John E Lattke

Instituto de Zoologia Agricola

Universidad Central de Venezuela

Apartado 4579

Maracay 2101-A

Venezuela

David Meyers

Project Montagne Dbre

WWF

BP 294

Antsiranana 201

Madagascar

Prof John S Marsh

Trent University

Peterborough

Ontario

Canada K9J 7B8

Greg Middleton

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Natural Resources

Conservation Unit

Reduit

Mauritius

Philip Parker

Council of Northern Caving Clubs

11 Manston Gardens

Corrugates

Leeds LS15 8EY

UK

Ivan Rubesa

PO Box 60037

Caracas 1060-A

Venezuela

Peter Skoberne / Marco Simic

State Institution for Conservation of Nature & Cultural Heritage

Plecnikov TRG.2.P.P. 176

Slo 61000 Ljubljana

Slovenia

John Watson

Dept of Conservation and Land Management

44 Serpentine Road

Albany

Western Australia 6330

Nicholas White

123 Mannington Street

Parkville

Vic 3052

Australia

Kevan Wilde

Dept of Conservation

Private Bag 701

Hokitika

West Coast

New Zealand

Wang Xianpu

Institute of Botany

Chinese Academy of Sciences

141 Xizhimenwai Avenue

Beijing 100044

China


ADDITIONAL MAILING LIST (January 1996)

Dr Larry Hamilton

Islands and Highlands Environmental

Consultancy

RR#1, Box 1685-A

Hinesburg, VT 05461

USA

David Sheppard / Jim Thorsell

Protected Areas Programme/Natural Heritage

IUCN

Rue Mauverney 28

CH 1196

Gland

Switzerland

Andy Spate

ACKMA

c/ PO Box 452

Queanbeyan NSW 2620

Australia

Adrian Phillips

Chairman CNPPA

c/ IUCN

Rue Mauverney 28

CH 1196

Gland

Switzerland

Graham Price

National Caving Association

3 The Acorns

Oakhill

Bath

Somerset BA 3 5BT

UK

Sr Clayton Ferreira Lino

Sociedad Brasileiro de Espeleologia

Rua Joao Juliao, 296/114

01323 Sao Paulo

Brazil

Dr Jose Pedro de Oliviera Costa

c/- IUCN Brasil Committee

Avenida 9 de Julho

4877 - CEP

01.407.902

Sao Paulo

S.P. Brazil

Other Useful Contacts

International Union of Speleology

Dr Pavel Bosak, Secretary

Hlavni 2732/145

CZ-14100 Praha 4

Czech Republic

Tel: 42 2 765 1444

Fax: 42 2 27 2460

(page break)


APPENDIX 3

Glossary

Biogenic

Produced by living organisms.

Cenote

A type of steep-walled collape doline that extends below the water table so as to contain a pool or lake.

Circadian

A biological or behavioural process that recurs in an innate rhythm such as the daily cycle of sleep and wakedness in humans.

Doline

A closed surface depression formed by karst processes, normally with internal drainage into a cave system or through bedrock fissures.

Duricrust

A hard silica enriched soil horizon which commonly occurs in semi-arid landscapes and which often remains after erosion of overlying less hardened material.

Endemism

Being only found in a certain locality; not naturally found elsewhere.

Karren

Small scale sculpturing developed on limestone surfaces, either exposed to the rain or buried beneath the soil.

Karst

A distinctive style or terrain that is characterised by individual landform types and landform assemblages that are largely the product of rock material having been dissolved by natural waters to a greater degree than in most landscapes.

Palimpsest

A written or drawn record which has been totally or partially replaced by another.

Putative

Supposed; Reputed.

Speleologist

An expert in the scientific study of caves.

Speleothem

Formations or deposits in caves caused by the re-crystallisation of dissolved minerals.

Stalactite

A calcite deposit growing down from a cave roof.

APPENDIX 4

Summary of document in Spanish. [omitted]

APPENDIX 5

Summary of document in French. [omitted]


APPENDIX 4 - Following summary to be translated into Spanish.



APPENDIX 5 - Following summary to be translated into French.


GUIDELINES FOR CAVE AND

KARST PROTECTION

Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas

(CNPPA)

Synthesised and edited by

(list of lead writers)

IUCN - The World Conservation Union

1996


Published by IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK

A contribution towards the printing of this report has been provided by Unesco under Subvention

I U C N

The World Conservation Union

Copyright: (1996) International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Reproduction of this publication for educational or other non-commercial purposes is authorised without prior permission from the copyright holder.

Reproduction for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without the prior written permissions of the copyright holder.

Citation: 1996. Guidelines for Cave and Karst Protection, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. pp.

ISBN:

Printed by:

Cover photo:

Produced by: IUCN Publications Services Unit, Cambridge, UK

Available from: IUCN Publications Services Unit,

181a Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 ODJ, UK

or

IUCN Communications Division,

Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland

The designations of geographical entities in this report, and the presentation of the material, do no imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of IUCN concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

The views of the contributions expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of IUCN.

The text of this report is printed on Reprise Matt recycled paper.

IUCN - The World Conservation Union

Founded in 1948, The World Conservation Union brings together States, government agencies and a diverse range of non-governmental organisations in a unique world partnership: over 800 members in all, spread across some 125 countries.

As a Union, IUCN seeks to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

The World Conservation Union builds on the strengths of its members, networks and partners to enhance their capacity and to support global alliances to safeguard natural resources at local, regional and global levels.

The Role of CNPPA

The CNPPA (Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas) is one of six Commissions of the IUCN.. It is the Worlds leading global network of protected area experts with over 1000 members in 160 countries in its voluntary work. At the international level, CNPPA promotes the establishment and effective management of a world-wide, representative network of terrestrial and marine protected areas. This is essential to ensure that protected areas can effectively meet the challenges of the 21st century.


CONTENTS

Preface

I Introduction: Karst environments and cave systems...

II The importance of caves and karst

III Threats to caves and karst

IV Options in protection of karst

V Karst management at the regional and site level

VI International co-operation and liaison

VII Epilogue

VIII References and further reading

Appendices:

1. IUCN Categories and management objectives of protected areas.

2. Membership of CNPPA Working Group on Cave and Karst Protection and other useful contacts

3. Glossary of terms

4. Summary of document in Spanish

5. Summary of document in French


PREFACE

Karst landforms and associated features such as caves are distributed widely throughout the world.

They have many values and many are located in various protected areas including several sites designated on the World Heritage register.

Some reasons for their protection include:

  • As habitat for endangered species of flora and fauna
  • As sites containing rare minerals or unique land forms.
  • Important sites for geologists, geomorphologists and palaeontologists
  • Culturally important sites, both historic and prehistoric
  • As spiritual or religious features.
  • For specialised agriculture and industries
  • As "windows" into understanding regional hydrology
  • As sources of economically important materials
  • For tourism and its associated economic benefits.
  • As purely recreational areas, both scenic and challenging.

Karst and caves are indeed special places. They do however require special management considerations often extending well beyond the formal boundaries of protected areas in which the more obvious features fall.

Appropriate management expertise does not usually lie solely within the formal protected areas agencies - in fact there is no other landform type where such a high proportion of the specialised expertise lies outside such agencies, within the ranks of speleologists and cave explorers.

These guidelines have been prepared as a brief "aide-memoir" for planners, managers and users of the karst estate. They are general guidelines or recommendations and the examples used reflect the first hand knowledge of those who have volunteered their time to contribute to their preparation. More specific guidelines and management plans for karst and caves will need to be prepared at a national, regional or site level. Such guidelines should involve local community input and ideally local endorsement.

These guidelines were prepared as an initial draft by a small group of speleologists and karst managers in Australia but with significant input and subsequent modification by other speleologists and protected area managers from around the world through the CNPPA Working Group on Cave and Karst Protection.

The Working Group is an informal grouping of scientists, managers, cavers and speleologists who see the need to improve the sharing of information and expertise between protected area managers, speleologists and other karst specialists. The group was formed at the Third World Congress on National Parks held in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1991. It has subsequently provided advice on cave and karst management to protected area managers and others. It has provided comment on several World Heritage nominations and it has prepared these guidelines - the first time such an overview has been produced at the global level.

We believe that these guidelines will make a significant contribution to our knowledge of the special management considerations essential for protection of caves and karst. They are a "first step" and the challenge now is for the national and site specific strategies to be developed in karst areas around the world.

I. INTRODUCTION - KARST ENVIRONMENTS AND CAVE SYSTEMS


Two essential characteristics of karst must be taken into account in developing protective policies: its integrity is intimately dependent upon maintenance of the natural hydrological system; and karst is vulnerable to a distinctive set of environmental sensitivities.


Many karst areas have been densely populated and heavily impacted for hundreds of years. Given the vulnerability of karst environments, extreme land and groundwater degradation has commonly occurred.


Their mysterious character and beauty has often caused attention to be focused specifically on caves and so diverted from the wider karst environment. Protection and management of the wider karst environment is important not only in its own right but also because it underpins the adequate protection of a cave or any other single element in a karst landscape.

II. THE IMPORTANCE OF CAVES AND KARST


In addition to the importance of retaining examples of karst landforms and landform assemblages as part of a strategy to safeguard global geodiversity, a number of economic human and scientific values may be present in karst areas. Hence, there may be a diversity of demands that are in conflict with one another.


Guideline

1. Effective planning for karst regions demands a balanced consideration of economic, scientific and human values, within the local cultural and political context and in a way which is congruent with that context.

III. THREATS TO CAVES AND KARST


It is fundamentally important to recognise that the proper protection of caves and karst is not just a matter of preserving interesting, beautiful or scientifically interesting natural features. In most cases, it has far-reaching environmental implications which in turn generate significant economic impacts. Proper management of karst is an essential element of water resources management.


Caves and karst are amongst the most vulnerable of landforms, and are often subject to degradation as a result of phenomena or events which occur at a considerable distance. Their effective protection and management therefore requires consideration and action at both regional and local levels.

Guidelines

2. The integrity of any karst system depends upon an interactive relationship between land and water. Any interference with this relationship is likely to have undesirable impacts, and should be subjected to thorough environmental assessment.

3. Land managers should identify the total catchment area of any karst lands, and be sensitive to the potential impact of any activities within the catchment, even if not on the karst itself.

4. Destructive actions in karst, such as quarrying or dam construction, should be located so as to minimise conflict with other resource values.

5. Pollution of groundwater poses special problems in karst and should always be minimised.

6. All other human uses of karst areas should be planned to minimise undesirable impacts, and monitored in order to inform future decision-making.

7. While recognising the non-renewable nature of many karst features, particularly within caves, good management demands that damaged features be restored in so far as is practicable.

IV. OPTIONS IN PROTECTION OF KARST


Protection of karst features has all too often focused upon caves, and not given adequate consideration to the need for protection and proper management of the total karst area as a land unit.


As in many aspects of protected area management, the establishment of protected areas is not enough in itself. The management of karst demands specific interdisciplinary expertise and this is in the early stages of development in most countries. Management agencies should recognise the importance of this expertise and take advantage of inter-agency or international co-operation in order to enhance their own capacity.

Guidelines

8. Governments should ensure that an appropriate selection of karst sites is declared as protected areas under appropriate legislation.

9. High priority in protection should be given to areas or sites having high natural, social or cultural value; possessing a wide range of values within the one site; which have suffered minimal environmental degradation; and/or of a type not already represented in the protected areas system of their country.

10. Where possible, total catchment areas should be included within the protected areas boundary.

11. Where such coverage is not possible, consideration should be given to the use of environmental controls or total catchment management agreements under planning or water management legislation to safeguard the quantity and quality of water inputs to the karst system.

12. Land managers should identify karst areas not included within protected areas and give consideration to safeguarding the values of these areas by such means as planning controls, programs of public education, heritage agreements or covenants.

13. Management agencies should seek to develop their expertise and capacity for karst management and recognise the value of inter-agency or international co-operation.

V. MANAGEMENT AT THE REGIONAL AND SITE LEVEL


Karst management must be holistic in its approach and should aim to maintain the quality and quantity of water and air movement through the subterranean environment as well as the surface.


Guidelines

14. Managers of karst areas should recognise that these landscapes are complex three-dimensional integrated natural systems comprised of rock, water, soil, vegetation and atmosphere elements. Equally management of specific cave sites should recognise this complexity.

15. Management in karst should aim to maintain natural flows and cycles of air and water through the landscape in balance with prevailing climatic and biotic regimes. Management in caves should equally aim at the maintenance of natural flows.

16. Managers should recognise that in karst, surface actions may be rapidly translated into impacts underground and elsewhere.


In general, karst systems develop over geological timescales which must inevitably include significantly different environments from that of today. Some karst systems will thus be so out of phase with prevailing conditions that they have no capacity to regenerate. Other systems may have some capacity to regenerate but this may entail timescales greater than that of individual human generations. Caves and their contents (speleothems, sediments and bones) may have been formed or empleaded under different climate regimes and may remain unaltered for millennia. These may require specific management attention because of their fragility.


Guidelines

17. Pre-eminent amongst karst processes is the cascade of carbon dioxide from low levels in the external atmosphere through greatly enhanced levels in the soil atmosphere to reduced levels in cave passages. Elevated soil carbon dioxide levels depend on plant root respiration, microbial activity and a health soil invertebrate fauna. This cascade must be maintained for the effective operation of karst solution processes.

18. The mechanism by which this is achieved is the interchange of air and water between surface and underground environments. Hence the management of both quality and quantity of both air and water is the keystone of effective management at regional, local and site specific scales. Development on the surface must take into account the infiltration pathways of water.

Guidelines

19. Management should aim to maintain the natural transfer rates of fluids, including gases, through the integrated network of cracks, fissures and caves in the karst. The nature of materials introduced must be carefully considered to avoid adverse impacts on air and water quality.

20. Soil management must aim to minimise erosive loss and alteration of soil properties such as aeration, aggregate stability, organic matter content and a healthy soil biota.

21. Pivotal to the prevention of erosion and maintenance of critical soil properties is the presence of a stable vegetation cover.

22. Because of the importance of karst areas as biological refuges, further fragmentation by road construction and similar activities should be avoided. If this is unavoidable, then corridors for animal dispersal should be maintained as a high priority. Within caves both terrestrial and aquatic fauna are best protected by the preservation of air and water quality. Accelerated stream siltation and compaction of sediments by visitors may be detrimental to cave fauna. The infrastructure of tourist caves (paths, steps, lights) should be designed to avoid decomposition and the release of either toxic substances or additional energy sources into the cave environment.

23. Climate change has occurred over geological timescales within which karst systems have evolved. Human intervention has the potential to alter climate in ways that may radically affect natural karst processes. Management prescriptions must be flexible, must recognise this possibility and must maximise the resilience of the system. The effects of high magnitude - low frequency events such as floods, fires and earthquakes must be recognised in management strategies at regional, local and site-specific scales.


It is estimated that one quarter of the world�population gain their water supplies from karst, either from discrete springs of from karst groundwater. The maintenance of water quality in karst can be viewed as a common good which is becoming increasingly important in those areas where rural populations are increasing rapidly and settlement of karst is well established.


Guidelines

24. Establishment and maintenance of karst protected areas can contribute to the protection of both the quality and quantity of groundwater resources for human use. Catchment protection is necessary both on the karst and on contributing non-karst areas. Activities within caves may have detrimental effects on regional groundwater quality.

25. Catchment boundaries commonly extend beyond the limits of the rock units in which the karst has formed. Definition of the whole karst drainage network depends on planned water tracing experiments and cave mapping. The boundary of this extended catchment can fluctuate dramatically according to weather conditions. Fossil cave passages can be reactivated following heavy rain.

26. More than in any other landscape, a total catchment management regime must be adopted in karst areas. Activities undertaken at specific sites may have wider ramifications in the catchment due to the ease of transfer of materials in karst.

27. Recognising that the extraction of rocks, soil, vegetation and water will clearly interrupt the processes that produce and maintain karst, such uses must be carefully planned and executed to minimise environmental impact. Extractive industries may be incompatible with the preservation of natural and cultural heritage.

28. Imposed fire regimes on karst should, as far as is practicable, mimic those occurring naturally if the aim of management is sustainable land use.

29. Human visiting of caves and karst may be irreversibly damaging particularly when cumulative over time. Management planning should recognise this fact and seek to minimise visitor impacts and maximise environmental protection.

VI. INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION AND LIAISON


International Co-operation can play a vital role in strengthening the karst protection and management capacity of land management agencies and in ensuring integrated protection on a world basis.


Guidelines

30. International, regional and national organisations concerned with aspects of karst protection and management should recognise the importance of international co-operation and do what they can to disseminate expertise and share expertise.

31. The documentation of cave and karst protection/management policies should be encouraged, and such policies made widely available to other management authorities.

32. A data base should be prepared listing cave and karst areas included within protected areas, but also identifying major unprotected areas which deserve recognition. Karst values of existing and potential World Heritage sites should be similarly recorded.

VII. EPILOGUE

Karst and caves are very special places, each unique in its own way and yet highly dependent upon wider influences over which protected area managers may have very limited control.

It must be stressed once more that the guidelines presented above must always be applied in a local context. This will include cognisance of local biodiversity and geodiversity, plus sensitivity towards socio-economic and political factors.

Hopefully the guidelines will provide managers and planners with useful aids towards improving community knowledge of karst and caves, and hence having a better opportunity for local acceptance of and involvement in improved protection and management. The guidelines should also assist in preparation of more specific guidelines and management plans at a national, regional or site level.

This volume is a first attempt to bring together as many key issues as possible relating to karst and cave protection in a relatively small booklet. Hopefully it will be widely distributed and widely used. Constructive criticism is earnestly sought so that upon revision we can improve upon karst and cave protection.

Meanwhile, the CNPPA Network on Cave and Karst Protection will continue to provide advice to the best of its ability, if only to direct requests for help to known sources of special expertise. We welcome your ongoing interest and support.


Section Membership Information


If you are not already a member of the Conservation and Management Section of the National Speleological Society, you are invited to join. Dues are $5.00 a year, payable to the NSS Cons/Mgmt Section. Members receive the newsletter regularly and are entitled to vote at the annual meeting.

r

Yes, I would like to join the Conservation/Management Section. Here are my dues in the amount of $________ (dues of $5/year may be prepaid for up to three years).

Name______________________________________

NSS No.________

Address_______________________________________________

 

City_____________________________

State_____________

ZIP_________________

Please send this form with check/money order to the Secretary-Treasurer:
Evelyn Bradshaw,
10826 Leavells Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22407-1261.

 

 


Black Hills Lint Camp


Wind Cave and Jewel Cave, together with the NSS Lint Project, are hosting the third annual Lint Camp in the Black Hills of South Dakota. You are invited to be one of 20 volunteers who are assisting with this conservation project.

Over the decades, hundreds of pounds of lint have accumulated along the tour routes of these National Park caves. Removal will be accomplished with everything from tweezers to vacuum cleaners. We are soliciting help from anyone interested in resource protection and restoration. No previous lint cleaning or caving experience is required, but we like to find a few people with experience in cleaning wet formations.

The camp will be held May 6-10, Monday through Friday. Two days will be spent at each cave, with Wednesday reserved for off-trail caving or sightseeing. No registration fee is required. Meals and housing will be provided. For more details, please contact Jim Nepstad at 605-745-4600 or Jim_Nepstad@nps.gov. Deadline for applying is Friday, March 15, 1996. See you there!


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