Karst area is an area of rocky limestone with unique landscape conditions, both located on the surface (eksokarst) and below the surface (endokarst). Karst region is a focal point for 25% of world population to meet its water needs. Throughout the history of formation and occupancy, karst ecosystems has experienced geological and geomorphological processes and cultures that have a high importance to the sustainability of natural and cultural processes as well as the sustainability of life.
Karst areas are also known to be very vulnerable to various kinds of disturbances. Utilization of karst areas require more careful and prudent management compared with other regions. All forms of pollutions in the surface of karst area will easily carry over into the underground river past the cave and sinkhole (luweng) without undergoing filtration by the soil. Karst soil is very thin, even dominated by rock outcrops. Karst region will be more difficult to be rehabilitated compared with other regions.
With these problems, the Faculty of Geography through Prof. Dr. Suratman as the dean and Dr. Eko Haryono, a karst expert, initiated the karst conference in the scope of Asia, as well as to discuss the formation of professional organizations in the field of karst. Furthermore, the UGM Faculty of Geography becomes the host of the first Asian Trans-Displinary Karst conference. Members of seminar committee, Dr. Eko Haryono and Dr. Tjahyo Nugroho Adji, said the conference aims to facilitate the meeting of karst researchers, observers, and practitioners in order to share experiences in a variety of disciplines as well as to facilitate cooperation of researcher, observers, and practitioners from Asian countries.
The seminar attended by 93 participants from four continents, namely Asia, Europe, Africa and America or 13 countries, among others, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Korea, UK, Germany, France, Italy, America, Iran, Slovenia, and Nigeria. A variety of themes raised in this seminar, ranging from geology, geomorphology, hydrology, biodiversity, and socio-economic development in karst areas.
The seminar lasted for four days. First and second day were filled with presentations and poster sessions. In the third and fourth days a fieldtrip was conducted to the karst areas in the district of Gunung Kidul and Pacitan, among other caves in Gunungsewu (Bedoyo, Tabuhan, Gong), the exploration of underground river (the Suci River, Goa Jomblang, Bribin cave-micro-hydro dams), archaeological exploration (the Museum of Karst, Goa Song terus), photographic exploration of the cave (Goa Cermai), and hydrogeology karst exploration (Seropan, Bribin, Baron).
This seminar is a form of the commitment of the UGM Faculty of Geography in the development of international cooperation network, both in education and research. The theme of karst is one of the most excellent researches in the Faculty of Geography through cooperation with several countries in Asia and Europe.
Dr. Danang Sri Hadmoko, S.Si., M.Sc.
Bureau of Foreign Cooperation
Faculty of Geography, University of Gadjah Mada