Some planning requirements prior to forest industry development of carbonate landscapes
ENDINS, n." 13.1987. Ciutat de Mallorca.
by Kevin KIERNAN (*)
Per a qualsevol projecte d'aprofitament dels recursos naturals és fonamental un correcte inven-
tari dels possibles perills per al rnedi arnbient. L'aprofitament dels paratges calcaris es complica per
la cornplexitat morfolbgica i de drenatge que resulta del substrat geolbgic. De I'establiment d'un
inventari correcte i de mesures per la protecció ambiental en surt una posició critica envers el millo-
rar I'ús d'aquestes zones per la producció de fusta a llarg termini. Critica igualment ho és envers la
protecció i el mantenirnent de molts d'altres recursos naturals i d'altres oportunitats oferides pels
paratges calcaris. Aquest treball proposa un conjunt de procediments adequatC al desenvolupament
de paratges calcaris sernblants als de Tasmhnia, particularment al desenvolupament de zones,
abans remotes, on es probable que s'hi estenguin les activitats forestals en els anys vinents.
Aquests procedirnents destaquen la protecció dels recursos del sbI i de I'aigua, cercant la protecció
dels valors econbmics, ambientals, cientifics i d'esbargiment.
An adeqliate resource and environrnental hazard inventory is fundamental to any natural re-
source development project. Development of carbonate landscapes for forestry purposes is compli-
cated by the landforms and drainage complexities that commonly arise due to the solubility of the
geological substrate. The development of appropriate inventories and measures for environmental
protection are both critical to optimising the long term use of such areas for wood production. They
are also critical to protecting and maintaining the many other natural resources and other opportu-
nities offered by carbonate landscapes. This paper proposes a set of procedures appropriate to the
development of carbonate landscapes similar to those in Tasrnania, and in particular to the develop-
rnent of previously remote areas where forestry development is likely to extend in the next few
years. These procedures emphasise the protection of soil and water resources in seeking to safe-
guard economic. environmental, scientific and recreational values.
Pream ble
Karst environments are characterised by land-
co-exist. The soil mantle commonly varies due to
forms such as sinkholes and caverns which prima-
such factors as topography, environmental change
rily result from the solution of a soluble rock such as
over the geologically recent past and the possible
limestone or dolomite by natural waters. In such a
deposition upon the karst surface of sediments de-
landscape difficulties may be posed for developers
rived from another location. Come residual lime-
due t o an absence of surface water storage; in the
stone soils are sensitive to erosion and may take
maintenance of ground-water supply and ground-
centuries or more to recover if eroded. The mainte-
water quality; as a result of ground surface instabi-
nance of the natural movement of water, air and
lity; and because of the other resource utilisation
food supply into caves is basic to maintaining many
opportunities with which their own activities must
of the various values which karst offers for econo-
mic, scientific, educational and recreational users.
A n adequate inventory of each karst landscape to-
(*) Department of Geography, University of Tasmania (fonnerly
Division of Engineering & Operations, Forestry Commission,
gether with an understanding of the processes in-
volved i n a karst landscape is also an important

factor in optimising the long term use of any karst
characterised by various dis-
area for purposes of wood production.
tinctive landforms.
This paper proposes a policy and a set of spe-
Mantled Karst:
a karst landscape in which the
cific procedures appropriate to the development of
soluble bedrock is mantled by
karst lands similar to those in Tasmania for forestry
an accumulation of materials
purposes. Sound planning is essential to forestry
which have been transported
operations in any area (Forestry Comission 1981).
from elsewhere by the agency
The proposals outlined in this paper are geared to
of running water, frost, glaciers,
the role of an hypothetical government agency res-
wind, gravity, or other influen-
ponsible for ensuring the proper conduct of such
ces; these deposits form the
developments. In the Tasmanian context, fire is an
parent material from which local
important tool in forest management hence some
soils have been derived.
attention is given to this in addition to the other
Bare Karst:
a karst landscape in which the
aspects of forest management with which overseas
soluble bedrock is not mantled
readers may be more familiar. The development of
by any transported material and
a road and track network in virgin native forests
ir1 which the only available mi-
planned for logging is also an important part of
neral' base for soil development
Tasmanian logging.
is the insoluble residue remain-
ing after solution of the bedrock.
1. A draft Karst policy for the
Karst Watec
al1 water in a karst landscape in-
«X Y Z
Forestry Departmenb
cluding seepage and stream
Karst Catchrnent: an area which may neither be
(a) Policy goals and objectives
underlain by karst rocks nor
exhibit any karst landforms but
to aid in the identification and protection of the
which forms the catchment of
natural resources which are offered by the karst
streams which flow to a karst
landscapes which are under the control of the
forest authority and in particular karst water,
soils, caves and life forms;
Karst Reserve:
a reserve to protect a karst wa-
t o ensure that any presence of karst in areas
tercourse, or other karst feature,
likely t o be subject to forestry operations will
or to otherwise aid in karst fo-
be recognised;
rest management.
t o ensure that assessment of each karst and
the probable impact of forestry operations be-
(c) Legal basis for this policy
comes a routine prelude to logging;
t o provide a mechanism for the identification,
This will vary from country to country but is
ranking and management of caves and other
likely t o involve statutes related not only to fores-
karst landforms in areas of government land
try operations in particular, but also to Waters, Po-
and such areas of private land as may fall with-
Ilution, Highways and Roads, Archaeology, Scenery
in the influence of the authority;
Preservation, Wildlife Conservation, Public Safety,
t o minimise the physical danger to which fo-
Health, Fisheries, Recreation and other matters.
restry workers may be exposed when working
These should be identified and their implications
upon karst landscapes;
specified in the development of a karst manage-
t o minimise economic losses (e.g. by road fai-
ment policy.
lure) caused by inadequate management;
VII. t o responsibly contribute to wider endeavours
2. General strategies
t o improve the management of karst generally.
(a) To establish formal mechanisms for the rou-
(b) Terrninology
tine assessment of karst in areas to be subject at
some time to forestry operations, and to oversee
For the purposes of this document the fo-
data gathering, devise management, operational
llowing definitions are assumed:
and restoration procedures and monitor the results
a landscape generally formed
of karst management programmes. Within the autho-
on limestone or dolomite rock;
rity one approach might be to establish some form
the result of a high degree of
of consultative group, which would meet regularly,
rock solubility in natural waters;
and which might consist of:

senior authority officer concerned with
(i) To prepare and implement karst forest mana-
gement plans.
senior authority officer concerned with
(j) To manage other use of karst features inclu-
ding recreational use of caves in accordance with
senior authority officer concerned with
the forest management plan.
environment protection,
a karst scientist,
(k) To maintain cave and surface landform records
within the context of (d) above. Locational informa-
District Foresters as appropriate
tion should be locked and generally unavailable to
a representative of recreational caving
the general public and uninvolved government em-
ployees except insofar as may appear appropriate
(b) To facilitate the compilation of karst invento-
t o the consultative group in specific cases after con-
ries by:
sultation with other involved parties such as the
authority staff,
Speleological organisation.
The authority will not advertise cave locations
forrnally engaged volunteers (as appro-
or otherwise encourage access to caves except in
accordance with the specific initiative of the con-
(c) To establish and monitor a sequence for the
sultative committee following assessment of their
investigation of karst areas - e.g.
values for particular purposes and the compatibi-
karst area identification,
lity of those different uses.
baseline monitoring as appropriate,
( m ) The authority will demand that persons visit-
deliberate search for karst landforrns with-
ing authority controlled sites, particularly caves,
in each area,
adhere t o the spirit of the Speleological organisa-
detailed recording of each inventoried site,
tion Code of Ethics with respect to their impact
co-ordination, conduct of or support for
upon the area.
any other necessary research,
assessment of management requirements,
(n) To specify appropriate responsibilities at fo-
VII. implernentation of managernent pro-
rest rnanagerial and operator/contractor levels.
(o) To facilitate the transfer of specific sites to the
(d) To provide maps of ksrst area locations to re-
administration of alternative management authori-
gional and district officers to alert them to possible
ties in any cases where the conservation signifi-
karst implications in their area; and to maintain a
cance of a particular site is high and the intensity
central register to be called upon for detailed infor-
of management required exceeds that which can
mation when specific logging plans are prepared.
reasonably be provided by the authority.
(e) To co-ordinate general resource management
(p) To monitor and review the effectiveness of
within karst forests including produce such as
the foregoing procedures.
earth materials.
(q) To support research into karst environmeñts.
(f) To facilitate communication between the au-
thority and other karst users.
(g) To take such steps as are necessary to safe-
3. lmplementation
guard karst resources on authority land, including
where appropriate the designation of specific sites
(a) Cornpilation of a data base
as karst reserves or the limitation of access to sen-
sitive sites through gating or other means.
To enable better management of its karst fo-
(h) To review and issue delegated management
rests the authority needs t o gather two types of in-
authorities t o other bodies where appropriate. This
formation. The first type of information consists of
would involve the prior review of proposals for use
inventories of karst landforms and resources. These
of karst features on authority land, including the
should be prepared for any areas which are likely
development of educational facilities, the acquisi-
t o be subject to intensive forestry operations. De-
tion of caves for tourist development and the use
tailed operational planning and management can
of caves by adventure tourism companies. In rare
then be guided by these inventories. The second
cases it might also be necessary to consider agree-
need is for information on the natural processes
ments with recognised bodies such as the relevant
within the karst areas, upon the basis of which at-
Speleological organisation for short term control of
tempts may be made to gauge the magnitude of
particular caves gated by the authority although
the impact of forestry operations. Karst areas ge-
ideally management should remain with govern-
nerally facilitate the gathering of more complete
quantitative data on overall erosion rates than do

rnost other types of landscape hence more useful
readily be ascertained frorn the surface. This
inforrnation with direct relevance to rnanagernent
nurnbering systern will be integrated with that
can be cornpiled.
of the relevant speleological organisation.
6. Inventory data will be synthesised to provide
! Karstinventories
the following data for rnanagernent planning:
the distribution of karst land forrns, includ-
(a) The following inventory sequence will be fo-
ing the location, extent and directional trend
of cave developrnent;
1. The karst area location rnaps provided to regio-
the pattern of apparent karst drainage, pre-
nal offices will be consulted by them as a rnatter
ferably with confirrnation by water tracing
of course and as early as possible in forest
planning, and where this or sorne other factor
III) the nature, thickness, stability and trans-
gives reasonable grounds to believe that fores-
rnissivity of the surficial rnantle;
try operations rnay impinge upon karst lands or
IV) the significance of the sites with respect to
karst catchrnents the consultative group will be
the values listed on the inventory forrn;
inforrned of this possibility.
V) the proposed classification of each site.
2. Where the likely extension of forestry opera-
7. Detailed operational planning will not be irnple-
tions in or close to karst areas is confirmed, in-
mented until stage (6) above has been attained.
ventory procedures will be initiated involving
8. Monitoring will be rnaintained with respect to
firstly the location of karst landforrns and se-
the discovery of any new sites, new develop-
condly an assessrnent of site significance.
rnents regarding the significance of known sites,
3. The inventory procedure will be initiated within
and the effectiveness of rnanagernent strategles
the authority and co-ordinated by a designated
authority officer.
(c) The authority will encourage liaison and corn-
4. Each site will be classified by the inventory co-
rnunication between itself and other karst users by:
ordinator after consultation with appropriate
1. Ensuring that both karst scientists and also re-
parties and subject to verification by the con-
creational cavers are included in the consulta-
sultative group.
tive group, together with such other interests
5. The consultative group will be responsible for
as rnay be appropriate in particular circurnstan-
the preparation, irnplernentation and rnonitor-
ces (e.g. water supply authorities; farrners).
ing of surface rnanagernent plans, and any de-
2. Encouraging direct cornrnunication between
tailed cave rnanagernent plans.
other karst users (e.g. karst scientists and fores-
Consideration will be given to the feasibility
try cornpanies) with the aim of rninirnising un-
and desirability of integrating this data base
necessary adverse irnpacts and adversary rela-
with that of the relevant speleological organi-
3. Appointing local and head ofíice contact persons
(b) The following inventory procedures will be
who will be responsible for initiating action on
karst managernent issues and to liaise with va-
l. Surface landforrn details and specific cave de-
rious karst users.
tails wilf be recorded on standard proforrnas.
!. These specific site inventories will not be con-
sidered complete until al1 spaces are notated.
11. Baseline data and rnonitoring procedures
There will be a need for regular review and up-
dating of the proforrnas.
1. The authority recognises the need for baseline
l. A perrnanent reference file will be established
data on undisturbed karst areas against which
and retained only at Head Office and will include
the irnpact of logging can be judged.
such things as:
2. To this end the authority recognises that there
- inventory forrn
exists a need to investigate the effects of fores-
- history
try operations upon karst environrnents and in
- access details
particular upon the stability of karst soils, upon
- cave rnaps
the quantity, distribution and character of cave
- photographic record
waters and upon cave organisrns.
- entry records
3. The authority will rnake every reasonable at-
- rnanagernent records
ternpt to fully characterise a nurnber of carefully
- any other relevant data.
selected and apparently representative drainage
5. Cave entrances will be physically tagged with a
basins, caves and other sites; the need to record
corresponding file nurnber in al1 cases where
such inforrnation on a stable and long terrn ba-
the continuation or otherwise of the cave cannot
sis is acknowledged.

4. The authority will also consider the establish-
take every care to avoid landslides and other
ment of experimental catchments to be harvest-
forms of slope failure which may damage karst
ed and monitored following an initial period of
soils and silt karst streams or block the ex-
data collection under undisturbed conditions.
change of air between caves and the outside
(b) Protection of soil and water values
Works which will disturb the ground surface
will be timed to coincide with periods when
Residual limestone soils on bare karst are com-
the risk of heavy rains is least; burning plans
monly thin, slow t o form and easily eroded.
also need to minimise the risk of post-fire
While trees are a renewable resource, the soil
i n which they must grow is not, at least over a hu-
Because clearfelling may produce higher ero-
man time scale. Thin limestone soils cannot sus-
sion potential than selective extraction, the
tain pressure. On the other hand, some of the soils
latter may be preferable in sensitive karst
which form on some transported materials carried
by natural agencies onto karst landscapes (umantled
VIII. The degree of site disturbance will be a func-
karstn) are sufficiently thick to sustain some ero-
tion of the type of logging system used. Un-
sion, and even effect a moderately rapid recovery.
planned operations will not be permitted in
But even here though there is need for caution. In
karst forests or in sensitive karst catchment
both situations the soil mantle performs a vital role
in regulating the flow of water which infiltrates un-
derground and also determines its chemistry (im-
(c) Karst Reserves
portant for instance in maintaining underground
water supplies and in maintaining the attractive
The functions of karst reserves are to:
character of cave decoration and enabling the con-
tinued existance of cave fauna). The soil grains
Maintain infiltration flows to underground con-
eroded from hillslopes might conceivably even block
underground drainage routes in some circumstan-
Maintain streamsink flows to underground con-
ces, diverting streams and drying up springs or
perhaps causing further erosion elsewhere by di-
Filter out unnatural sediment and logging de-
verted water. The authority recognises that:
Ensure streambanks are not destabilised.
The maintenance of natural water flows and
Give protection to shallow or otherwise deli-
storages and the protection of soils is a fun-
cate caves and underground watercourses.
damental requirement.
Maintain stream shade and natural water tem-
The possibility of soil erosion being caused
peratures to protect aquatic fauna.
by progressive site degeneration due to fires,
Minimise ionic imbalance in karst waters which
insect and disease infestation and poor vege-
might adversely affect fauna and speleothems.
tation cover due to low soil nutrient status
Ensure an adequate food supply is available
means that particular care needs to be exer-
for those cave species which feed outside and
cised in forest management and monitoring
bring energy back to cave food chains.
i n karst areas.
Afford protection to significant surface karst
Disturbance by machinery is likely to be the
plant and animal communities.
most common cause of erosion and warrants
Prevent the clogging of air exchange between
particular attention.
caves and the externa1 environment or the
Limestone derived soils (ubare karst» soils) are
opening up of new pathways for air move-
highly susceptible to erosion and if lost will
not redevelop over a human time scale; trans-
Provide a mechanism for zoning hazardous
ported mantle soils ({cmantled karstn) may
areas uoff limits)) to forestry workers.
pose a lesser risk in some cases, but because
Protect the recreational, scientific or other po-
of the karst context no mvering mantle should
tential of particular surface karst features.
be managed as if posing less than a moderate
erosion risk even if soils formed on its domi-
nant rock constituent are normally considered
11. Karst reserves should be established
of low erosion risk.
in the following cases:
Every effort will be made to ensure that steep
exposed slopes and long exposed slopes are
All surface stream channels should be ma-
minimised; to adequately drain site works to
naged as {(Defined Streams)) irrespective of
prevent erosion and cave siltation; and to
the length of the surface portion of their cour-

se, and irrespective of whether the channel
disturbance in the construction of strearn cros-
conducts a permanent intermittent or ephe-
meral flow; any watercourse lying in a karst
All care should be taken to ensure that human
catchment area where logging over an area
wastes, petroleum products, litter, herbicides
in excess of 20 ha is to occur within 2 km of
and other pollutants (particularly eroded silt)
the karst should also be defined.
do not enter karst reserves.
2. Within reason, where natural standing water
bodies occur.
Tirnber Harvesting
3. Where sinkholes or other karst landforms have
been assessed as significant to the local drain-
No roading or logging operation will commen-
ce until completion of the karst inventory and
4. Where thin cave roofs or unstable terrain sus-
assessment procedures.
ceptible to collapse makes logging operations
Roading operations will take into account the
potentially dangerous to a significant cave or
need for particular care to be taken jn karst
t o forestry workers.
areas; road planners will be familiarised with
5. Where the transmission of shock waves may
the contents of this drafi policy and necessary
cause damage to a significant cave.
considerations for infrastructure development
6. In such other cases as may arise.
(Kiernan, this vol.).
Snig track planning should be fully integrated
l//. Appropriate sizes for karst reserves in particular
with road planning so as to minimise soil dis-
circumstances involves all that land:
Forest operators and contractors and (autho-
1. Within 60 metres of an active suríace water-
rity) field officers who are active in karst areas
course or within 40 metres of an inactive wa-
will be familiarised with the general contents
and intent of this policy, and particularly ope-
2. Within 40 m of any natural standing water body
rational guidelines to inform them of ways
of significance.
in which they may minimise their adverse im-
3. Within 40 m of any sinkhole assessed to be
pact upon the karst and also minimise the
risk t o their personal safety which may stem
4. Within 100 m of any significant cave.
from working in such an environment.
5. Of such size over the roof of any significant
In view of the risk inexperienced persons put
cave as is necessary to protect the cave struc-
themselves to in entering unknown caves,
ture or any cave contents susceptible to vibra-
forest workers will be discouraged from en-
tion or other damage (eg, dehydration).
tering caves; they will be encouraged to re-
6. Of such size as is necessary or desirable to
port their existance.
safeguard forestry workers in unstable or other-
No camps or living quarters will be establish-
wise hazardous country.
ed in karst forest areas, except where an exist-
7. These proposals represent standard minimum
ting settlement is present in which case all
sizes adequate to ameliorate adverse environ-
care should be taken to minimise any detri-
mental impacts when development is to occur.
mental environmental impact even if the im-
It is recognised that in some cases it will be
pact of other development is already severe.
appropriate to reserve larger areas (e.g. pro-
Any new development in such circumstances
tection of complete drainage basins where the
should aim to reduce the adverse impact of
retention of baseline sites for scientific study
earlier development wherever possible.
or preservation of very important cave systems
All waste materials sould be removed from
is required).
karst areas. No dumping of refuse or ballast
in sinkholes or other topographic lowpoints
I V. Restrictions on karst reserves
will occur.
No tree should be felled within any karst re-
(e) Forest Maintenance
serve, nor into any karst reserve.
Fire should not be permitted in any karst re-
As the soil must provide the medium f
serve (within reason).
growth of forest crops all care will be taken
No logging machinery or roads should enter
t o ensure that it is adequately protected from
karst reserves other than at designed and cons-
excessive compaction and redistribution
tructed stream crossings if these are totally un-
machine or erosion.
While most of Tasmania's commercial nat¡
All care should be taken to minimise ground
forests are ecological pioneers which requ

a mineral seed bed and freedom from com-
shrub species to a certain degree of attack
peting vegetation to establish, the quantity
by root rot fungi (e.g. by Phytophtora cinna-
and chemistry of seepage and other waters
mom11 may be lower in karst areas. This may
may be changed as a consequence of rege-
be significant both to some residual stands
neration burning. This may have adverse ef-
(e.g. on karst reserves) subject to microcli-
fects upon caves. Karst soils may suffer ero-
matic change due t o adjacent clearfelling,
sion and nutrient volatilisation. Slash burning
and also to successful regeneration; particular
should therefore not be carried out within
care is warranted with respect to sanitary pro-
bare karst areas steeper than about 15", in
cedures. Although some evidence suggests
close proximity to karst reserves or signifi-
that high calcium levels may be antagonistic
cant sinkholes, or on thinly mantled karst. This
t o Phytophtora there may be little calcium in
may entail the prior preparation of firebreaks.
the soils of mantled karst.
Because the evolution of each karst environ-
Management of pest problems should receive
ment is strongly influenced and controlled
high priority in.areas of unstable slopes or
, .
by the surface vegetation, and because in-
severe soil erosion.
sufficient data is as yet available on the re-
lationship between tree species and ground
(f) Management and Protection of Caves
water distribution and chemistry to demons-
trate that cave decoration or biota will not
Because cave decoration, certain cave depo-
be adversely affected, no major changes of
sits and cave biota are easily damaged by
forest type will be undertaken over signifi-
human traffic and because human visitors
cant caves, or in significant cave catchments.
commonly inflict the greatest damage in this
Pine plantations appear to have seriously dried
regard, the authority will develop and imple-
out caves in some cases. There may be a case
ment specific management strategies for in-
for delaying changes on bare karst or thinly
dividual caves: al1 management decisions will
mantled karst other than those which are of
be the responsibility of the consultative group.
assistance to the gathering of process data.
Because of the likelihood of increased evapo-
A specific cave management policy will need
transpiration losses ultimately diminishing
t o be developed.
the supply of water to karst caves, regrowth
denser than the natural cover will not be en-
couraged over known decorated caves.
Where slope stability is in question, advanced
seedlings of fast growing species should be
This paper had its origins in a project initially
established after cutting.
commenced while I was employed by the Forestry
Fire management plans should aim to prevent
Commission of Tasmania and partly funded at that
fires extending onto bare karst or any karst
time by the Australian Heritage Commission. It has
reserve, the implications of karst should be
benefitted from discussions and correspondence
considered in planning access routes, back-
during and since that time with many individuals,
burning and other procedures.
including Brendan Diacono, Steve Harris, Joe Jen-
Care is required in the management of animal
nings, Barry Buffington, Andy Spate, Elery Hamil-
pests because of the specialised conditions
ton-Smith and others. I am grateful to the Director,
under which cave organisms have evolved
Australian Heritage Comission, for permission to
and the sensitivity of cave ecosystems to dis-
quote from m y original report to which the Heri-
tage Commission holds copyright.
1. Where toxic substances are used to mi-
nimise browsing by vertebrate animals
or to inhibit insect attack or where her-
bicides are used, al1 cave entrances and
karst streams should be avoided.
FORESTRY COMMlSSlON (TAS) (1981): ~Guidelines
for the plan-
2. Great care is required t o minimice the
ning and control of logging in native State Forestsn. For.
loss of those elements of the cave food
Comm. Leaflet 3.
web which feed outside as this may have
KIERNAN, K.W. (1984): «Land Use in Karst Areas: Forestiy Ope-
rations and the Mole Creek Caves11. Australian Heritage
grave implications for cave species with
Commission Libraty, Canberra. 320 pp.
a low number of individuals.
VIII. The thin soils and rapid infiltration of mois-
ture in karst areas may impose water stress,
as a consequence the tolerance of tree and