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J Environ Manage. 2009 Apr;90(5):1770-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2008.11.018. Epub 2009 Jan 9.

Interregional comparison of karst disturbance: west-central Florida and southeast Italy.

Author information

1
University of South Florida, Department of Geography, Tampa, FL 33620, USA. North2@mail.usf.edu

Abstract

The karst disturbance index (KDI) consists of 31 environmental indicators contained within the five broad categories: geomorphology, hydrology, atmosphere, biota, and cultural. The purpose of this research is to apply the KDI to two distinct karst areas, west Florida, USA, and Apulia, Italy. Through its application, the utility of the index can be validated and other important comparisons can be made, such as differences in the karst legislations implemented in each region and the effect of time exposure to human occupation to each karst terrain. Humans have intensively impacted the karst of southeast Italy for thousands of years compared to only decades in west-central Florida. However, west-central Florida's higher population density allows the region to reach disturbance levels comparable to those reached over a longer period in Apulia. Similarly, Italian karst is more diverse than the karst found in west-central Florida, creating an opportunity to test all the KDI indicators. Overall, major disturbances for southeast Italy karst include quarrying, stone clearing, and the dumping of refuse into caves, while west-central Florida suffers most from the infilling of sinkholes, soil compaction, changes in the water table, and vegetation removal. The application of the KDI allows a benchmark of disturbance to be established and later revisited to determine the changing state of human impact for a region. The highlighting of certain indicators that recorded high levels of disturbance also allows regional planners to allocate resources in a more refined manner.

PMID:
19135774
DOI:
10.1016/j.jenvman.2008.11.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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