Original paper

Development challenges in karst regions: sustainable land use planning in the karst of Slovenia

Gabrovšek, Franci; Knez, Martin; Kogovšek, Janja; Mihevc, Andrej; Otoničar, Janez Mulec Bojan; Perne, Matija; Petrič, Metka; Pipan, Tanja; Prelovšek, Mitja; Slabe, Tadej; Šebela, Stanka; Ravbar, Nataša; Hajna, Nadja Zupan


The comprehensive knowledge of karst surface, caves, waters and biodiversity were examined with special emphasis on planning for environmental management and land use in karst regions using examples of projects performed by the sta from the Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU. Based on the knowledge of karst, karst phenomena, karst waters and karst biodiversity, karstological monitoring was developed throughout the construction of expressways and planning for railways on karst terrain. Newly revealed karst phenomena were properly preserved. Regular climatic and biological monitoring were developed and implemented, as well as karstology consultation with an emphasis on the impact of the use of caves as natural assets. To understand karst, its evolution dynamics and processes, models were developed with which the study of the risk posed by dam site construction in karst areas was possible. Karst aquifers and their protection were studied using tracer tests and different methods of the transfer of contaminants through the vadose zone and underground flow connections. In assessing the vulnerability and contamination risk of groundwater, a comprehensive method was elaborated. Microorganisms and fauna of dripping water in caves were used as monitors of cave ecosystem health. By applying high-quality karstological research results from individual spheres of karstology and interdisciplinary studies, a foundation for sustainable planning of life in karst regions that will consider the natural and cultural characteristics and vulnerability of karst landscapes has been established.


karstsloveniacavessustainable planningprotectionkarstological assessment