Original paper

The system nature of karst landscape and principles of cave protection resulting from it

Andreychouk, V.


The karst landscape (KL) is a very specific type of natural terrains. Unlike other types of landscapes developing on the surface of the earth, it contains not only terraneous but also subterranean part (caves systems, channel networks, cavities etc.), which combined together form its two-fold structure. These two parts of the karst landscape are integrated into the entirety by numerous and various interactions between them, which allows considering and studying KL as a two-fold system (karst landscape system). Two aspects of the KL system structure have been analyzed: the vertical, i.e.geo-component structure – individual components of the landscape and vertical interactions between them occurring in the vertical cross section, and the horizontal, i.e.geo-complex structure – complex units (cells) which build the landscape on the lateral plane, together with interactions between them. It has been shown that the two-fold structure of the karst landscape is crucial for its functioning, development and self-regulation. Because of the fact that the subterranean part of the landscape is closely correlated with the terraneous part, the principles of the karst landscape and caves protection should be based on a systemic approach. Two major principles have been considered. The first one says that the preservation of the two-fold geosystem must be complex and all-embracing: we should not preserve a cave pattern without taking care of the surface above it, or conversely: preserve the terraneous karst geocomplex we may not neglecting the cavities beneath it. The second rule (principle) suggests that while determining the lateral (horizontal) boundaries and buffer zone of the geosystem selected for preservation, it is necessary to take into account the extent of the paragenetic and paradynamic connections between the elements-geocomplexes comprising KL.


karstsystem approachprotection of caveskarst landscape