Karst values of Kosciuszko National Park: a review of values and of recent research

Andy Spate, Andrew Baker

Abstract


There are seven areas of karst within Kosciuszko National Park ranging from the sub-alpine to montane forest conditions. Two, at least, Yarrangobilly and Cooleman Plains, are of national – perhaps international - significance. This paper amplifies earlier discussions of the heritage significance of the Kosciuszko karsts but does not greatly alter the earlier assessments. The highest levels of significance result from cultural values relating to use by indigenous people and to modern scientific research on karst processes.
Cooleman Plains, Yarrangobilly and perhaps Indi were used by indigenous people for dispositional burials, occupation, and perhaps parietal art, for over 10,000 years. The caves in the headwaters of Jounama Creek to the north of Black Perry Mountain have not been rigorously studied for their indigenous or other values because of their extreme inaccessibility within the Bogong Wilderness but their proximity to the Bogong bora rings and many Bogong Moth sites makes them a likely site.
Cooleman Plains and Yarrangobilly have been the subject of internationally published research in the fields of karst processes with publications of the late Joe Jennings being cited in texts more than four decades later. Micro-erosion meter sites established in 1984 are still being monitored and paper requests still being received. More recently, the world’s first studies of the impacts of fi re on karst processes in and above caves are being undertaken at Yarrangobilly (and on other NSW karsts) with several publications arising.

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