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Episodes 2023; 46(4): 665-670

Published online December 1, 2023


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

New achievements of IGCP 661 structure, substance cycle, and environment sustainability of the critical zone in karst systems (2017-2021)

Bing Bai1,2, Zhongcheng Jiang1,2*, Cheng Zhang1,2, Junbing Pu3, Chris Groves4

1 Institute of Karst Geology, CAGS / Key Laboratory of Karst Dynamics, MNR/GZAR, No 50 Qixing Road, Qixing District, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China
2 International Research Centre on Karst under the auspices of UNESCO, No 50 Qixing Road, Qixing District, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China
3 School of Geography and Tourism, Chongqing Normal University, No.37 Daxuecheng Central Road, Shapingba District, Chongqing, 401331, China
4 Department of Earth, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY 42101, USA

Correspondence to:*E-mail: 86834836@qq.com

Received: March 15, 2023; Revised: June 8, 2023; Accepted: June 8, 2023

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


With a large distribution of karst all over the world, the research on karst landscapes has gone through a long history, and karst scientists have devoted themselves to it globally. Based on the strong support from UNESCO/IUGS, five International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) ran from 1990 to 2015. IGCP 661 is the sixth karst-related IGCP project, implemented from 2017 to 2021. Ten karst scientists from seven countries lead the international working group to conduct this project. Various issues of karst were detected previously, covering karst formation, carbon cycle, ecological systems and water resources. On this occasion, IGCP 661 paid attention to earth’s critical zone in karst areas, the karst critical zone, combining the lithosphere, hydrosphere atmosphere and biosphere together, which are incompletely understood. With the effort made by global karst scientists and the regular communication, several achievements were achieved in several fields, including basic recognition of karst and critical zones, hydrogeological structure, karst carbon cycles and the atmospheric carbon sink. Besides, with other S&T project support, an initial international monitoring station network was established enhancing the joint research capacity of the working group, also providing a demonstrative construction model for the monitoring station for future work.