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The conservation of the Speleological Heritage involves bioecological, geomorphological and anthropogenic studies, both from inside the caves and from the external environments that surround them. This study presents a method to rank caves according to their priority for conservation and restoration. Nine caves were evaluated: indicators related to the environmental impacts and the vulnerability status presented by those caves (intrinsic features) and the values scored in a ‘Cave Conservation Index’ (CCI) were established. We also used a rapid assessment protocol to measure cave vulnerability for prioritization of conservation/restoration actions (RAP-cr) comparing natural cavities with the same lithology, due to “strictu sensu” peculiarities. Based on the protocols applied in caves of the municipality of Laranjeiras, Sergipe, Northeastern Brazil, we concluded that the present method attended to the needs for the classification of the caves into categories of conservation/restoration status, using little time and financial effort, through rapid diagnostics that facilitate the comparisons. In this perspective, the CCI can be used to indicate areas that should be protected and caves that should be prioritized to have initiated activities of conservation and restoration.
Cave Conservation Index, Rapid Evaluation Protocol, Speleological Patrimony, Cave Environments, Environmental Impact
International Journal of Speleology, Vol. 43, no. 3 (2014).
Donato, C.R.; Ribeiro, A.S.; and Souto, L.S., "A conservation status index, as an auxiliary tool for the management of cave environments" (2014). KIP Articles. 1200.