Welcome to the 2001 IGCP 448 field excursion in China!
The IGCP 448 "world correlation of karst geology and its relevant ecosystem "(2000-2004) is an UNESCO-IUGS supported project with about 160 participants from 34 countries, and Co-led by Dr. Chris Groves (USA),Dr. Giuseppe Messana (Italy) and myself. The Project is initiated and supported continuously by international academic organizations including the Karst Commissions of IAH and IGU, and the International Union of Speleology. The main objectives of IGCP 448 are: (1) to compare the karst ecological systems in tropical and subtropical, Mediterranean, Gondwana, arid and semiarid and other regions, their mechanism of formation, and different impacts on human life; (2) to compare the microscopic karst ecosystems as affected by different hydrogeological and geochemical background and phase of carbonate rock, especially its impact on species selection and biodiversity, and thereafter the rehabilitation of karstlands; (3) to compare the subterranean ecological systems of karst on both geographical and geological views, and explore their differences on the evolution of troglobite, troglophile and trogloxene species and relation with surface ones; (4) to compare the mutual effects of karst ecological system and human activities, e.g., the impact of karst ecological system on agriculture, forest, human health, and on the other hand, the impact of human activities (urbanization, timbering, mining, quarrying, agriculture, and etc. ) on the karst ecological system.
This guidebook is a special publication prepared by the National Working Group of China for IGCP 448 and the Karst Dynamics Laboratory, the Ministry of Land and Resources for the IGCP 448 workshop, to be held in China from Sept. 1 to Sept. 12, 2001. This is the second IGCP supported most ambitious karst trip in China. The first one was the 6400km long trip taken place in 1991 for IGCP 299 "Geology, Climate, Hydrology and Karst Formation, 1990-1994", which started from Guilin, and passed through Guizhou, the eastern part of Tibetan Plateau, Shandong, and Beijing to examine the 3 major karst types in China, i.e., subtropical karst in south China, high mountain karst on Tibetan Plateau, and semiarid karst in north China. In contrast with the previous one, which made correlation of karst morphology with its environment of formation, the 2001 IGCP 448 workshop in China will focus on the ecological problems in karst.
According to the work schedule of the Project, besides the exchanges of informations from correlation sites prepared by National Working Groups and individual participants, a series of on-the-spot discussions will take place in the most typical karst ecosystems of the world during the 5-year period of the Project, i.e., Carpathian-Balkan karst ecosystem (Romania) and Gondwana subtropical karst (Brazil) in 2000; karst ecosystem in subtropical humid monsoon areas and semiarid areas (China), and in French-Swiss Jura (2001); Mediterranean karst ecosystem (2002,Spain and southern France); Boreal karst ecosystem in Eastern Siberia (Russia) and temperate karst ecosystem in USA (2003); Gondwana temperate and semiarid karst in southern Australia (2004).
Thanks to the efforts of our local coordinators, Dr. Bogdan P. Onac and Dr. Augusto Sarreiro Auler, the results of the Project's first year excursions in Romania and Brazil are very fruitful. The informations are summarized in the IGCP 448 Newsletter 2001, which has been put on our Website ( Hard copies are distributed to everybody at this Workshop and also available at the Project's Secretariat (contact: Dr. Zhang Cheng, email:
The 11 days 4000km long excursion of 2001 will start from semiarid karst in Beijing, which is also a part of the International Symposium "Sustainable Development in Karst", and finish in the subtropical tower karst of Guilin en route Chongqing, Guiyang, Liupanshui, and Stone Forest of Kunming on the SW China Plateau Karst (1200-2000m Integrating with reports from Eastern Siberia (Russia), and tropical karsts of Indonesia. Malaysia, and Vietnam, which will be presented at the 2 days Symposium before the excursion, we hope that the Project will get in 2001 a whole transect of karst ecosystems in East Asia from tropical, subtropical, semiarid to boreal karst ecosystems. This will be a major step for the Project toward understanding karst ecosystems of the world.
The Excursion in Xishan (Western Hill) at the western suburb of Beijing will include the well-decorated Shihua Cave (photo 2, inner back cover) developed in Ordovician limestone, and the "Pseudo Cone Karst" (a sort of periglacial limestone peaks, photo 1, inner back cover) developed in Proterzoic siliceous carbonate rocks along Juma river. Impacts of human activities (limestone quarry, cement manufactory, and etc.) on karst ecosystem will also be examined.
In Chongqing, the excursion will be at the Jinfo Mountain Karst Nature Preserve, Nanchuan City at south of Yangtze River. The altitude ranges between 500m and 2200m a.s.l with the geological coverage from Cambrian dolomite limestone at the mountain foot to the Permian limestone on the plateau surface (photo 3, inner back cover). We are going to the see how karst ecosystem changes with the variation of the geological and topographic background. Moreover, on the way between Chongqing and Nanchuan City, we will have the chance to get a glimpse on the tail water of the future Three-Gorge Reservior near Fuling City.

On the Guizhou Plateau (1200-1600m a.s.l), we will see the most deteriorated karst ecosystem (the karst rocky desert) between Guiyang and Liupanshui City (cover photo), and typical site of rehabilitation (photo 5, inner back cover). On the midway, the excursion will also include a 74m high waterfall (Huangguoshu, photo 6, back cover), and examing fauna in cave. In Liupanshui City, case examples of karst collapse and water pollution will be discussed on-the-spot.
In the Stone Forest (Shilin) near Kunming, Yunnan, a well-known karst scenic resort on Permian limestone, we will not only see the most characteristic pinnacle karst of the world and its varieties, but also investigate how the biodiversity of endemic species on limestone rock reduced following the course of planting Eucalyptus and pine trees in the past 40 years, and how biodiversity recovered in recent years in the center part of the protected area (photo 8, back cover). A cave although small (Baiyun Cave) but with complicated hydrological history reflected by many dissolutional and depositional features will also be visited (photo 7, back cover).
The excursion will end in Guilin, a paradise of world karst geomorphologists, especially for those who devote to the study of tropical karst. Besides investigating and discussing the origin of the two major subtypes of tower karst developed in Devonian limestone (photo 10, back cover), i.e, peak cluster (Fencong) and Peak Forest (Fenling) on the bus or the boat cruise on Lijiang River, a karst hydrogeological experimental site will be visited. Results of 16 years of monitoring the water cycle and carbon cycle at the Site, and the influence from the recovery of secondary vegetation will be exchanged (photo 9, back cover). A cave with important archaelogical and Quaternary paleontological findings will be visited.
We hope this excursion will provide a good chance for participants from different countries to exchange ideas on various aspects of karst science, especially on the comparison of different karst ecosystem, and thus benefit the smooth running of IGCP 448. Ecological rehabilitation is one of the 4 major tasks in the on-going West Development Drive in China. Priorities are on the 4 main fragile ecosystems in West China, namely, the loess ecosystem; the snow mountain-desert-oasis ecosystem in NW China; the Tibetan-Qinghai high plateau ecosystem; and the karst ecosystem in SW China. Accordingly, in the 11 days excursion, Chinese colleagues will do their best to explain the ecological problems and experiences in the rehabilitation of karst land in China. At the same time, they would very much like to learn experiences in scientific management of karst ecosystems from participants of other countries.
The Scientific Committee of the Workshop would like to take this chance thank the UNESCO/IUGS IGCP; the Ministry of Science and Technology of China; The Ministry of Land and Resources of China; the National Science Foundation of China; the Chinese Academy of Geological Science, and the Geological Society of China for financial supports to this Workshop, and the Southwest Normal University of China; the Liupanshui Government, and the Shilin (Stone Forest) Tourism Administration for organizing the relevant parts of the excursion.
Wish you a fruitful and enjoyable trip in Western Beijing and Southwest China!

Prof. Yuan Daoxian
Project Co-Leader
IGCP 448
and Coordinator of Chinese National Working Group for IGCP 448