Workshop on subterranean Ramsar wetlands set for Australia, October 2004


Limestone Coast 2004 - IGCP 448 Global Karst Correlation, and The First International Workshop on Ramsar Subterranean Wetlands
October 10 - 16, 2004

The workshop will pursue the overall concept of understanding the relationship between karst resources, the biotic environment and the human situation. It will emphasise the relationships between earth sciences and bio-sciences and between scientific understandings and human activities.

The objectives of IGCP [UNESCO International Geoscience Programme] 448 can be summarised as being to compare:

1. karst ecological systems across various regions, and in particular, their mechanism of formation and different impacts on human life
2. micro-karst ecological systems as affected by the geochemical and evolutionary context, and hence the implications for rehabilitation of karstlands
3. subterranean ecological systems of karst from geographical and geological perspectives, and analyse their influences on the evolution of karst-related biota
4. interactions of karst ecological systems and human activities

Turning to subterranean wetlands specifically, the Convention on conservation and sustainability of wetlands was agreed in 1971 at a meeting in the Iranian town of Ramsar, and has since become generally known as the Ramsar Convention. It has worked to further the conservation and effective management of wetlands ever since.

At the 6th Conference of Contracting Parties in Brisbane in 1996, it was decided that a special program should be set up to examine and advise upon the issues relating to karst and other subterranean wetlands. A small working group met in Slovenia in 1998 and prepared a series of recommendations for implementation of the subterranean wetlands program. These were accepted, the formal recognition of subterranean wetlands of international importance has since proceeded, and this will be the first workshop for the exchange of experience in this area. This is an important topic for Australia, given the current nation-wide emphasis on water quality and groundwater-dependent ecosystems. Clearly the two themes are closely related, and it makes a lot of sense to bring them together in a common meeting.

The Workshop Venue:

The workshop will be based at the Naracoorte Caves World Heritage Area, with its remarkable fossil deposits. This is located in what is now known as the Limestone Coast region of Southern Australia.

The first announcement and circular concerning the workshop, September 2003 (PDF) [since removed]

The second announcement and circular, with registration forms and information on associated events (PDF) [since removed]

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