Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research

Karst research at LTER Slovenia sites presented in a new video

2 February 2023

The Karst Research Institute at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) is the leading partner of the LTER Slovenia consortium which belongs to eLTER. Within the consortium, multidisciplinary research focuses on karst areas, regions characterized by water-soluble rocks, which results in the absence of water at the surface, as water flows mainly underground through fractures.

On the surface, the most characteristic karst landforms are karst plateaus and various large depressions, ranging from small sinkholes to spectacular collapses and very large poljes (large, flat-floored depressions). Below ground there are various cavities, from tiny fissures to large horizontal or vertical caves. Data collection in karst areas is particularly time-consuming and sometimes life-threatening as cave exploration is generally difficult. Such data are extremely valuable.

There are two eLTER sites managed by the Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU that are dedicated to the underground part of the karst system:

1. The Postojna-Planina Cave System is a globally exceptional site of subterranean biodiversity with 117 species of animals specialized for life underground. Of these, 47 species have been scientifically described, and more than 10 species are awaiting formal taxonomic description.

2. The Škocjan Caves are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and protected by the Ramsar Convention. Both sites are also internationally renowned tourist attractions that have major socio-economic impacts that must be taken into account when making conservation plans.

The LTER Slovenia team prepared a new video on the karst research done on its sites which you can see for further information.

Screenshot from the video