On the Implementation of Environmental Indices in Karst
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.
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