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As an UNESCO world heritage site, Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng is home to hundreds of caves, including the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, and Asia’s oldest karst landscape. In collaboration with the Institute of Geological Sciences Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (IGS-VAST), CHNGES faculty and students work closely with the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park Management Board to assess the impact of tourism on the Park’s historic and famous cave systems. In addition to the completion of a park wide Karst Disturbance Index, CHNGES is working to create a plan for karst protection and sustainable eco-tourism practices in the Park. Student Elizabeth Willenbrink is completing a master’s thesis in the Park on effective communication of agricultural policies and practices. Specifically, she hopes to create a plan for effective karst education and karst protection strategies to be disseminated to all Park rangers and local communities to help protect its fragile karst resources. Oh, and if the exisiting research projects weren’t enough, CHNGES has a formally signed memorandum of agreement (MOA) with IGS-VAST. This agreement is designed to help facilitate cooperative projects related to karst geoscience, karst hydrology and geomorphology, water resources, karst disturbance and human impacts, climate science, environmental education, and sustainability. Under the agreement, the entities share technical and scholarly expertise, provide support for scholarly exchange of students and faculty when available, and facilitate research throughout Vietnam that promotes good science and best practices in karst planning and management.


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