Document Type


Publication Date

July 2007


In the natural resources disciplines, human dimensions research aims to understand the role of human interactions in the various biological, physical, and social components of ecosystems. Successfully applying this knowledge to decisions affecting environmental processes and their societal outcomes depends on collaborations among interrelated disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, communication sciences, and related interdisciplinary studies. Success is also based on access to reliable sources of scientific and technical information. Some of the difficulties in stewardship of karst and cave ecosystems arise from the limited availability of information concerning human-karst relationships.

The Karst Information Portal (KIP) is an evolving international community of scientists, information specialists, and other researchers seeking to promote information sharing and access to published and unpublished research in order to advance karst, cave, and aquifer research and stewardship via the Internet and information related technologies. Researchers at University of South Florida conducted a study to map the domain of karst literature. The data has been used to design strategies to aggregate and evaluate the representation of information within KIP. One finding was that a large amount of cave and karst scientific and technical information resides in gray literature, much of which is currently not readily available to researchers, decision makers, and the public. KIP has the potential to facilitate communication of scientific and technical research and findings between cave and karst land stewards, policy makers, community planners, social scientists, and funding agencies. The resulting collaborations have the potential for generating innovative solutions to the critical challenges of karst and cave ecosystem stewardship.