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

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


Enviromental behavior

Asst. Prof. Katarina Polajnar Horvat, Ph.D.,


Heritage intepretation

Assist. Prof. Aleš Smrekar, Ph.D.,


Historical geography

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


Social geography of karst

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


Social innovations and territory

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


Sustainable development

Assist. Prof. Daniela Alexandra Teixeira da Costa Ribeiro, Ph. D. ,