TO RESEARCH BIOTIC DIVERSITY IN KARST CAVES

Numerous unique phenomena exist in karst, namely biological diversity, both in the inside and outside. The biological phenomena in the carst areas are interesting to research, such as biotic diversity in caves and kinds of biotic adaptation in totally dark karst caves. The cave topography is characterized with low energy source, stable microclimate condition compared to the outside, and high humidity; those make up the home of unique and typical biota.

The brief explanation above was delivered by Dr. Cahyo Rahmadi from Biology Research Center of Indonesian Institute of Science Cibinong, in a National Seminar on Biology entitled “Biological Approach in Environtmental Education to Maintain Natural Resource Sustainability. Organizing the seminar was Biology Education Department of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences YSU. In addition to Dr. Cahyo, there were Prof. Dr. Wuryadi, MS from YSU and Dr. Endang Semiarti from Gadjah Mada University as the speakers in this seminar.

Further, recently karst areas are in danger. In Java, there are dozens plans to establish new cement manufactures that require limestone as the main materials. The planning is sometimes not going through a feasibility study environtment within academic scope. Several significant aspects such as biotic aspects, are only to meet the required documents of Environment Impact Assessment that do not make sense.

“In addition to planning the establishment of semen manufactures, the exploitation of karst areas and caves results in a serius treath to the surrounding ecosystem. For instance, Gua Pindul (in Gunung Kidul) is reported to serve approximately 400 visitors on holidays, with annual revenue reaching billion rupiah. Unfortunately, the cave tourism is without proper feasibility study to see the environtmental support,” Cahyo asserted.

The huge environtment advantages to the karst areas calls for the role of biologists to unearth all the potentials, particularly biological diversity. Several research topics in biological research help reveal the mistery in the karst caves. These also open possibilities for the biologists to be actively involved in preserving karst areas.

Universities in Indonesia that have Biology Department are expected to identify the potential of karst and caves in Indonesia as research objects, while introducing biospeleology, thus students could be in acquaintance with the other sides of carst caves in Indonesia. (witono)