DISTRIBUTION AND CHARACTER OF KARST IN THE LAO PDR
Kevin KIERNAN - (38/1,2009)
The extensive karst areas of the Lao PDR are poorly documented
but are known to include extensive limestone mountain
plateaus; isolated ridges including towerkarst; hillslopes
that are locally underlain by limestone; and alluvium-covered
limestone plains. Palaeokarst phenomena attest to a very long
history of karstification while sediments in some caves offer
insight into environmental change during the Quaternary.
Limited financial and technical resources, political factors and
the dangers posed by massive volumes of unexploded ordnance
that remain after decades of war are major impediments
to karst area documentation, analysis, planning and management.
Assessment of karst extent based on aerial photographs
and other remote sensing techniques is complicated by very extensive
pseudokarst formed due to bombardment during past
military con*icts, including hundreds of thousands of closed
depressions formed in both carbonate and non-carbonate
rocks. Notwithstanding such practical di+culties, the extent
and importance of the karst is such that improved inventory
at the national, provincial and local levels is required if satisfactory
environmental management and sustainable social and
economic development are to be achieved.