Evaluating the human disturbance on karst areas is a difficult task because of the complexity of these peculiar and unique environments. The human impact on karstic geo-ecosystems is increasingly important and there is an increasing need for multidisciplinary tools to assess the environmental changes in karst areas. Many disciplines, such as biology, geomorphology, hydrology and social-economical sciences are to be considered to sufficiently evaluate the impact on these intrinsically vulnerable areas. This paper gives an overview of the evolution of environmental impact on karst areas of the island Sardinia (Italy). For this particular case the most important impacts in the past 50 years are derived from the following activities, in decreasing importance: (1) mining and quarrying; (2) deforestation, agriculture and grazing; (3) building (widespread urbanisation, isolated homes etc.) and related infrastructures (roads, sewer systems, aqueducts, waste dumps, etc.); (4) tourism; (5) military activities. To evaluate the present environmental state of these areas the Disturbance Index for Karst environments (Van Beynen and Townsend 2005) is applied in a slightly modified version. Instead of considering the Indicators of environmental disturbances used in the original method, this slightly modified index evaluates the disturbances causing the deterioration of the environmental attributes. In the Sardinian case study a total of 27 disturbances have been evaluated, giving rise to the definition of a Disturbance Index ranging between 0 (Pristine) and 1 (Highly disturbed). This Disturbance Index simplifies the original KDI method, appears to adequately measure disturbance on Mediterranean karst areas and could be applied with success to other similar regions.

Evaluating disturbance on Mediterranean karst areas: the example of Sardinia (Italy).

DE WAELE, JO HILAIRE AGNES
2009

Abstract

Evaluating the human disturbance on karst areas is a difficult task because of the complexity of these peculiar and unique environments. The human impact on karstic geo-ecosystems is increasingly important and there is an increasing need for multidisciplinary tools to assess the environmental changes in karst areas. Many disciplines, such as biology, geomorphology, hydrology and social-economical sciences are to be considered to sufficiently evaluate the impact on these intrinsically vulnerable areas. This paper gives an overview of the evolution of environmental impact on karst areas of the island Sardinia (Italy). For this particular case the most important impacts in the past 50 years are derived from the following activities, in decreasing importance: (1) mining and quarrying; (2) deforestation, agriculture and grazing; (3) building (widespread urbanisation, isolated homes etc.) and related infrastructures (roads, sewer systems, aqueducts, waste dumps, etc.); (4) tourism; (5) military activities. To evaluate the present environmental state of these areas the Disturbance Index for Karst environments (Van Beynen and Townsend 2005) is applied in a slightly modified version. Instead of considering the Indicators of environmental disturbances used in the original method, this slightly modified index evaluates the disturbances causing the deterioration of the environmental attributes. In the Sardinian case study a total of 27 disturbances have been evaluated, giving rise to the definition of a Disturbance Index ranging between 0 (Pristine) and 1 (Highly disturbed). This Disturbance Index simplifies the original KDI method, appears to adequately measure disturbance on Mediterranean karst areas and could be applied with success to other similar regions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/47529
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