Caves Geodiversity Evaluation as an Instrument to the Management of the Campos Gerais National Park, Southern Brazil


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January 2019


This paper aims to evaluate the geodiversity of sandstone caves in the Campos Gerais National Park, Southern Brazil. The subject of the research was the inventory, quantification, and classification (ranking) of geodiversity features and biological elements, in order to identify which caves are fragile, vulnerable, and demand priority management action. The inventory proposes a data plan template with 11 characteristics for evaluation of 33 caves and generated a set of speleological information for the Campos Gerais National Park. The quantification and classification of the caves were based on five factors: (a) underground geodiversity features, (b) vulnerability, (c) expropriation priority, (d) sensibility, and (e) potential to scientific use. A case study shows topics that may influence the relevance of the sandstone caves, such as (a) karstification process in non-carbonate siliciclastic rocks, (b) geological function of the caves, (c) interactions between geodiversity and biodiversity, and (d) recent changes in Brazilian laws about cave protection and speleological relevance. The results showed that cave geodiversity evaluation through inventory, quantification, and classification (ranking) is an effective instrument to identify which caves must be prioritized in conservation actions. The evaluation can directly contribute to the management plan and other conservation actions in the Campos Gerais National Park. It can be applied in other areas for the analysis of eventual enlargement or creation of new protected areas.


Caves, Geodiversity Inventory, Protected Areas, Geoconservation Strategies

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Geoheritage, Vol. 11, no. 2 (2019).