2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


HOLLINGSWORTH, Emily Julia1, BRAHANA, John Van1, INLANDER, Ethan2 and SLAY, Michael2, (1)Department of Geosciences, University of Arkansas, Ozark Hall 113, Fayetteville, AR 72701, (2)The Nature Conservancy, Ozark Highlands Office, 675 Lollar Lane, Fayetteville, AR 72701, ehollin@uark.edu

A collaborative effort facilitated by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Arkansas, TNC Ozark Karst Program, and the University of Arkansas has been initiated to advance the protection of karst species and habitats globally by better understanding worldwide distributions of karst. This project's objective is to develop global datasets of karst areas and habitat types that will be invaluable in establishing and gauging the protection of karst.

The TNC has launched a goal to protect 10% of each of the world's major terrestrial habitat types by 2015. Karst is not classified as a major habitat type by the TNC; yet, karst landscapes occur in at least 26 of 29 countries where TNC works.

Karst harbors unique and diverse faunal assemblages of biological importance, due to their high degree of endemicity. Some of the worlds most rare and endangered fauna occur within karst habitats, making it essential for identification and conservation.

The dataset will be developed in two layers. The first will represent the extent of karst landforms with emphasis on habitat for cave limited species. The second will represent known biodiversity. Both layers will be generated from existing maps and literature. Preliminary preparation of the map will include evaluating geologic and karst maps and summarizing these features. The global map will consider various karst-related factors, such as the distribution of evaporate and carbonate units, karst beneath surfical overburden, and percentage of area covered by karst.

Addressing karst conservation and identification is indispensable at a global scale, due to the importance of karst habitats for humans and global biodiversity. There is currently no global karst biodiversity dataset. The proposed global karst GIS dataset will fill this data gap and provide a starting point for future protection of karst habitats and species.