Social geography of karst


Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)

Human Geography

Course code: 95
Year of study: Not specified

Course principal:
Assist. Prof. Mateja Breg Valjavec, Ph.D.


Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours
Course type: general elective
Languages: Slovene
Learning and teaching methods: lectures, discussion classes


Course syllabus (download)


Before the exam, students have to present a seminar work in front of other students.

Students will be assessed by the overall rating for the exam (50 %) and the seminar work (50 %).


Content (Syllabus outline):

  • Importance of karst resources
  • Examples of exploitation of karst resources
  • Formation of karst cultural landscapes
  • Examples of human impact on karst landscapes (e.g., degradation of dolines, cave and groundwater pollution presented on case studies from Slovenia)
  • Approaches to assess the disturbance (degradation) of karst landscapes
  • Karst features and sustainable development
  • Karst geodiversity and geoheritage
  • Development of sustainable tourism and geotourism in karst
  • Sustainable management of karst protected areas



  • Skripta
  • van Beynen, P. E. (ed.) 2011. Karst Management. Springer: Dordrecht, New York.
  • Ciglič, R., Hrvatin, M., Komac, B., Perko, D., 2012. Karst as a criterion for defining areas less suitable for agriculture. Acta geographica Slovenica, 52-1.
  • Ford, D., Williams, P., 2007. Karst Hydrogeology and Geomorphology. Chichester, John Wiley & Sons.
  • Gams, I, Gabrovec, M., 1999. Land use and human impact in Dinaric karst. International Journal of Speleology, 28-1.
  • Gams, I., 2003. Kras v Sloveniji v prostoru in času. Ljubljana, Založba ZRC.
  • Kaligarič, M., Ivajnšič, D., 2014. Vanishing landscape of the “classic” Karst: changed landscape identity and projections for the future. Landscape and Urban Planning, 132.
  • Prelovšek, M., Zupan Hajna, N., 2011. Pressures and Protection of the Underground Karst – Cases from Slovenia and Croatia. Postojna, Inštitut za raziskovanje krasa ZRC SAZU.
  • Unesco, 2010. Sustainability of the Karst Environment: Dinaric Karst and Other Karst Regions. Paris, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  • van Beynen, P., Townsend, K., 2005. A Disturbance Index for Karst Environments. Environmental Management, 36-1.
  • Tičar, J., Tomić, N., Breg Valjavec, M., Zorn, M., Marković, S. B., Gavrilov, M. B. (2018). Speleotourism in Slovenia: balancing between mass tourism and geoheritage protection. Open geosciences 10-1.


Objectives and competences:

  • the use of scientific methods in solving professional problems
  • communication and mastery of karst terminology
  • knowledge and understanding of concepts from the history of human karst interventions (cultural landscape)
  • the ability to make an assessment of the state of the karst region
  • understanding the importance of karst for man
  • ability to understand the vulnerability of the karst underground, aquifers in terms of water supply planning
  • the use of acquired knowledge in practice


Intended learning outcomes:

  • know the fundamentals of karst systems (natural and socio-economic)
  • recognise different karst resources and their role for socio-economic development
  • understand the human impacts on karst landscapes
  • qualifies to think critically and creatively when evaluating anthropogenic disturbance to karst


Learning and teaching methods:

Types of learning/teaching:

  • Frontal teaching
  • Work in smaller groups or pair work
  • Independent students work

Teaching methods:

  • Explanation
  • Conversation/discussion/debate
  • Case studies
  • Different presentation
  • Field work (e.g. company visits)
  • Inviting guests from companies



  • Long written assignments (40 %)
  • Presentations (10 %)
  • Final examination (written/oral) (50 %)


Cultural Geography ǀ

Assist. Prof. Jani Kozina, Ph.D.,


Enviromental behavior ǀ

Assist. Prof. Aleš Smrekar, Ph.D.,


Heritage intepretation ǀ

Assist. Prof. Aleš Smrekar, Ph.D.,


Historical geography ǀ

Assoc. Prof. Matija Zorn, Ph.D.,


Social geography of karst ǀ

Assist. Prof. Mateja Breg Valjavec, Ph.D.,


Social innovations and territory ǀ

Assist. Prof. David Bole, Ph.D.,


Sustainable development ǀ

Assist. Prof. Nika Razpotnik Visković, Ph.D.,


Territorial governance ǀ

Assist. Prof. Janez Nared, Ph.D.,