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Caves & Karst

A person in a cave kneeling down next to a rack made from PVC pipe, bracing newley repaired pieces of mineral formations
Beneath the Forest

Jen Foote sits next to Speleoracks that hold repaired formations in the Cantina Room of Cottonwood Cave. Photo by Mike Mansur.


Alpine Karst
Alpine Karst

Karst formation in Silurian limestone on northern Prince of Wales Island, Tongass National Forest, Alaska.

Blanchard Caverns
Blanchard Springs Cavern

Water flowing through Blanchard Springs Caverns resurfaces at Blanchard Springs, Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, Arkansas. Under Earth Images, photograph by Dave Bunnell.


Snow outside of cave
Ice Cave

A popular 650 foot long cave in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, with beautiful display of ice stalactites and ice stalagmites early in the season. Photo credit: Ahrlin Baughman.


Stewardship of Caves and Karst   

Beaver Falls Karst Trail Sign
Beaver Falls Karst Trail on the Tongass National Forest  Read More

Caves and karst resources occur in over 100 National Forests across the United States. The Forest Service has identified significant caves on these National Forests, often with the assistance of partners such as the National Speleological Society and Cave Research Foundation.

Caves and karst resources require special management because they support critical groundwater systems and unique biological communities. They also provide information about climate change, human history, paleontological resources, and minerals. The Forest Service manages caves and karst resources in keeping with the 1988 Federal Cave Resources Protection act and in accordance with the multiple use mission of the agency. 

Blanchard Springs Caverns. Photo credit: Dave Bunnell  Read More
Blanchard Springs Caverns. Photo Courtesy of Dave Bunnell  Read More

Forest Service Caves & Karst Research Publications

Assessing the effect of climate change on carbon sequestration in a Mexican dry forest in the Yucatan Peninsula
September 21, 2015

Streamflow and nutrients from a karst watershed with a downstream embayment: Chapel Branch Creek
February 2014

Relationships of three species of bats impacted by white-nose syndrome to forest condition and management
August 2016

Beneath the Forest




Forest Service Cave and Karst Newsletter

The Cave Formation Repair Project - Repairing Cave Formation on the Lincoln National Forest, New Mexico

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