On the Implementation of Environmental Indices in Karst

  • Marianna Mazzei
  • Mario PariseEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Karst Science book series (AKS)


Peculiarity of karst environment, related to a number of specific geologic and hydrologic features, makes it a unique setting on Earth, characterized by high fragility and vulnerability to many geo-hazards, and to a variety of anthropogenic disturbances as well, including contamination problems. Even though its uniqueness is well recognized since a long time, only in recent years efforts have been made to develop approaches and methods specifically dedicated to karst environment. The use of approaches dedicated to karst represents a mandatory step in the management of karst terranes. It contributes to highlight to stakeholders, land managers, and people living in karst the fragility of such environment, and the need to safeguard it and the natural resources therein contained, first and foremost the groundwater. In this chapter, we review the main indices proposed in the literature during the last 10 years and discuss them, taking into account the different scales of application (national, regional, protected karst area, show cave(s), single cave, etc.), their practical implementation, and the related problems and difficulties.


  1. Angulo, B., T. Morales, J.A. Uriarte, and I. Antigüedad. 2013. Implementing a comprehensive approach for evaluating significance and disturbance in protected karst areas to guide management strategies. Journal of Environmental Management 130: 386–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Calò, F., and M. Parise. 2006. Evaluating the human disturbance to karst environments in southern Italy. Acta Carsologica 35 (2): 47–56.Google Scholar
  3. Cigna, A.A. 1993. Environmental management of tourist caves: the examples of Grotte di Castellana and Grotta Grande del Vento, Italy. Environmental Geology 21: 173–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cigna, A.A., and P. Forti. 1988. The environmental impact assessment of a tourist cave. In Proceedings of the international. symposium on the 170th Anniversary of Postojnska Jama, 29–38. Postojna-Ljubljana, Slovenia.Google Scholar
  5. Day, M. 2011. Protection of karst landscapes in the developing world: lessons from Central America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. In Karst management, ed. P.E. van Beynen, 439–458. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Day, M., A. Halfen, and S. Chenoweth. 2011. The Cockpit Country, Jamaica: boundary issues in assessing disturbance and using a Karst Disturbance Index in protected areas planning. In Karst management, ed. P.E. van Beynen, 399–414. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. De Waele, J. 2009. Evaluating disturbance on Mediterranean karst areas: the example of Sardinia (Italy). Environmental Geology 58 (2): 239–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gutierrez, F., M. Parise, J. De Waele, and H. Jourde. 2014. A review on natural and human-induced geohazards and impacts in karst. Earth Science Reviews 138: 61–88. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.08.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kovarik, J.L., and P.E. van Beynen. 2015. Application of the karst disturbance index as a raster-based model in a developing country. Applied Geography 63: 396–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. North, L.A., P.E. van Beynen, and M. Parise. 2009. Interregional comparison of karst disturbance: West-central Florida and southeast Italy. Journal of Environmental Management 90 (5): 1770–1781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Pani, D., and A.A. Cigna. 2013. The paradox of cave mine conservation. In Mine caves, De Waele, J., Forti, P, and Naseddu, A., eds., 247–262. Memorie dell’Istituto Italiano di Speleologia, ser. II, 28.Google Scholar
  12. Parise, M. 2011. Some considerations on show cave management issues in Southern Italy. In Karst management, ed. P.E. van Beynen, 159–167. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Parise, M. 2015. Karst geo-hazards: causal factors and management issues. Acta Carsologica 44 (3): 401–414.Google Scholar
  14. Parise, M., and M. Valdes Suarez. 2005. The show cave at “Gran Caverna de Santo Tomàs” (Pinar del Rio province, Cuba). Acta Carsologica 34 (1): 135–149.Google Scholar
  15. Ramos Donato, C., A. de Souza Ribeiro, and L. de Sousa Souto. 2014. A conservation status index as an auxiliary tool for the management of cave environments. International Journal of Speleology 43 (3): 315–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ravbar, N., and S. Sebela. 2015. The effectiveness of protection policies and legislative framework with special regard to karst landscapes: Insights from Slovenia. Environmental Science & Policy 51: 106–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Šebela, S., and J. Turk. 2014. Sustainable use of the Predjama cave (Slovenia) and possible scenarios related to anticipated major increases in tourist numbers. Tourism Management Perspectives 10: 37–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. van Beynen, P.E., and K.M. Townsend. 2005. A disturbance index for karst environments. Environmental Management 36 (1): 101–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. van Beynen, P.E., and E. Bialkowska-Jelinska. 2012. Human disturbance of the Waitomo Catchment, New Zealand. Journal of Environmental Management 108: 130–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. van Beynen, P.E., R. Brinkmann, and K. van Beynen. 2012. A sustainability index for karst environments. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies 74 (2): 221–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. van Beynen, P.E., N. Feliciano, L. North, and K. Townsend. 2007. Applicationof the Karst Disturbance Index in Hillsborough County, Florida. Environmental Management 39: 261–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Salento UniversityLecceItaly
  2. 2.National Research Council—Research Institute for Hydrogeological ProblemsBariItaly

Personalised recommendations