Land Use Policy and Practice on Karst Terrains


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Publication Date

January 2009


Karst systems are often extremely sensitive to the nature of human activities taking place on the surface. Pollutants and contaminants can wash into karst landforms and downward through cracks and fissures in the hard carbonate bedrock,rapidly entering the aquifer below. Because so much of the world’s population (some sources estimate as much as 25%) draws drinking water from karstic aquifers, there is a significant incentive to understand and develop land use regulations that work toprevent the inadvertent contamination of groundwater supplies in karst landscapes. This chapter acts as an introduction to the topic, describing the processes by which karst features form, identifying several of the most common karst landform types, and providing examples of instances in which careless or unmanaged human–karst interaction had negative results.


Groundwater, Aquifer Contamination, Land Use Policy, Karst Processes, Human–Karst Interaction

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