Karst is a term that describes landscapes with distinctive surface and underground landforms formed by corrosion, such as sinkholes, disappearing streams, dry stream valleys, caves and subsurface drainage, large springs, natural rock bridges, and fluted rock outcrops. These landscapes are often particularly fragile and require special management in order to provide the best protection and minimise damage.
Many karst features are located within National Parks and other Department of Conservation-administered lands, reserves, local body reserves, and Queen Elizabeth II Trust covenanted sites, and as such are afforded varying degrees of protection. Other karst landscapes occur on uncovenanted private land and are only protected (informally) if current landowners recognise their scenic and scientific values. The importance and fragility of caves (i.e., subsurface karst) is well understood by the general public. This book, therefore, focuses on surface karst landscapes and aims to bring their importance and vulnerability to the attention of land managers, planners, and the public.