The 11th Australasian Conference on Cave and Karst Management, organised by The Australasian Cave and Karst Management Association (ACKMA), was held in various locations throughout Tasmania between 29 April and 8 May 1995, hosted by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and Forestry Tasmania.
With the recognition that karst management is very much a multi and interdisciplinary undertaking, the dominant theme of the conference was that of interactions between people and karst in some of the most striking carbonate landscapes in the Australasian region. The focus was broad, encompassing as widely as possible the perspectives of land managers and users who have, at one time or another, crossed paths with the particular challenges presented by living in a karst landscape.
Papers presented in the 'Living with Limestone' symposium ranged from broad overviews of nature conservation and management of cultural values in karst, through to specific presentations on aquifer management, roading, limestone quarrying, forestry and tourism. Other paper sessions were grouped to combine presentations on tourist cave management, interpretation, and on the rapidly expanding 'wild cave' tour industry. Workshops were conducted on tourist cave operations, caver impacts, cave classification, environmental monitoring in karst, education, adventure caving and management of 'great caves'.
Delegates ranged from strategic planners in state and local government, scientists, historians, quarry managers, foresters and forest operations planners (public and private), tourist cave managers (public and private) adventure cave tour operators, recreational cavers and various others with the often distinct advantage of professional detachment from matters karstic.
A second emerging theme was that of geoconservation and the management of geodiversity. Whilst not yet a widely accepted facet of mainstream nature conservation, publicising the "forgotten half" of ecosystem management was shown to comprise a major role of karst managers, who rely heavily on a practical knowledge of the values and processes related to the earth sciences in order to manage the total ecological diversity of karst. With such spectacular geo-features and processes at their fingertips, and wide tourist visitation, karst managers could potentially play a leading role in the presentation of geoconservation to the public for its intrinsic values, its values to people and as the building blocks upon which sustainable ecological systems should be managed.
The conference was opened at Gowrie Park by Bruce Leaver, the Tasmanian Public Land Use Commissioner. The Mole Creek and Gunns Plains tourist caves were visited, along with karst in State Reserves, State Forest and private land at Mole Creek, in private land at Loongana, and in State Forest at Mt. Cripps. The Vale of Belvoir (uncommitted Crown Land), Lake Mackintosh, Bubs Hill (National Park) and Junee - Florentine (National Park/State Forest) karsts were visited en route to the southern conference centre at Dover. From here, both developed and undeveloped caves in dolomite at Hastings, and the Exit Cave system and accompanying quarry at Ida Bay were visited.
The conference organisers greatly appreciate the hospitality of our hosts at Black Stumps, Gowrie Park, the Derwent Bridge Hotel and the Esperance Camp, Dover. At Mole Creek, District Ranger Dick Dwyer, Rangers Warner Harrison and Vic Fahey, and guides Peter Roberts, Elizabeth Tyshing and Leslie How greatly assisted with field visits and conference organisation. In the south, many thanks are due to Information Officers Roger Griffiths, Helen Colgrave, Peter Price, Dave Hawkins, Jessie Crowe and Joanne Wood. Thanks also to Stefan Eberhard, Rolan Eberhard, Jason Hamill, Arthur Clarke, Mick Williams and Deane Hicks for guiding trips into wild caves.
Chester Shaw, Ranger, Parks and Wildlife Service, c/o Post Office, Mole Creek, TASMANIA 7304
Phil Bradley, Ranger, Parks and Wildlife Service, Station Road, Dover, TASMANIA 7117.
Kevin Kiernan, Forest Practices Board, Roydon, Patrick Street, Hobart, TASMANIA 7001
Ian Houshold, Earth Science Section, Parks & Wildlife Service, PO Box 44A, Hobart, TASMANIA 7001