Human Disturbance of Karst Environments

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Book Chapter

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Human Disturbance, Karst Aquifer, Karst Area, Groundwater Vulnerability, Karst System

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Karst environments have been impacted by human activity for thousands of years, ever since people started living in caves for shelter, needing building supplies and water. As human population has increased, so has its disturbance of the karst landscape. Quarrying, pollution, groundwater extraction, construction, and agriculture are the major culprits for disturbing both surface and subsurface karst. Ecosystems in this type of environment have been shown to be quite vulnerable to human activities. Methods to quantify this disturbance, such as the karst disturbance index, have been created to help resource managers formulate approaches to reduce this anthropogenic impact. In addition, models to measure karst vulnerability, in particular karst aquifers, have grown in number over the last two decades. When measuring human disturbance, it is important to consider matters of time and scale, as both will influence how and what data is collected.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Human Disturbance of Karst Environments, in P. E. van Beynen (Ed.), Karst Management, Springer, p. 379-397