The cultural and natural heritage of caves in the Lao PDR: prospects and challenges related to their use, management and conservation

Roberts, Nicholas (2015) The cultural and natural heritage of caves in the Lao PDR: prospects and challenges related to their use, management and conservation. Journal of Lao Studies, Special Issue 1. pp. 113-139.

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This paper introduces the human uses for and values placed on caves and karst environments in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), and discusses some of the prospects and challenges related to their use, management, and conservation based on their value as cultural and natural heritage. In the Lao PDR, caves and karst have a broad range of uses and meanings, formed over long time periods that include prehistoric, historic, and contemporary phases. These uses have generated distinct values and meanings for diverse groups, including the Lao government, local communities, international researchers, and tourists. Caves are unique in that they fulfill, at least to some extent, all of the criteria for natural, tangible, intangible and historical heritage protection, making management of them difficult. The past, present and future importance of caves and karst and their multiple users and meanings has not been consistently taken into account in measures to protect or manage them. The increasing pressure from economic development practices, including logging, mining, and tourism, also compounds management and conservation. In order to sustainably manage and conserve caves and karst in the Lao PDR, they must be viewed as 'living places.' This will require the acknowledgment of their unique and crosscutting significance, their natural and cultural heritage and their current and historic uses and meanings. These characteristics should be identified and valued as part of any future conservation, social and economic development planning.

Item ID: 38217
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2159-2152
Keywords: Lao PDR; caves and karst; natural and cultural heritage management
Funders: James Cook University (JCU) Graduate Research Scheme (GRS)
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2015 03:15
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 25%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 50%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas @ 25%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950502 Understanding Asias Past @ 30%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950304 Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage @ 35%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950305 Conserving Natural Heritage @ 35%
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