Karst and similar landscapes are found in a wide range of biogeographic classes. In the U.S. for example, Everglades, Mammoth Cave, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks have little in common - except karst or pseudokarst, and a cultural past (even though these are very different). This diversity of geologic settings makes karst difficult to categorize and work with when designing a national program such as the recent NPS-USGS Geo-Indicators effort. A GIS-based approach with multiple datalayers is the only sane way to understand and convey the many relationships, in X, Y, and Z axes, between component ecosystems and cultural resources within karst and pseudokarst landscapes. Obviously, karst and cultural landscapes cross modern political as well as biogeographic boundaries. Here again, three-dimensional data are the foundation for understanding similar to that in anatomy and physiology: structure and function. In understanding where the most vulnerable 'pressure points' exist within karst landscapes, we can target landscape-scale ecosystem management to greatest effect. USGS and the National Cave and Karst research Institute could play an extremely significant role in cave and karst management on a national scale beyond NPS or other agency boundaries via cooperative management of three-dimensional karst datasets analogous to programs in several states.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group: proceedings, St Petersburg, Florida February 13-16, 2001