Lapa Nova is a dolomitic cave about 4.5 km long located in northwestern Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The cave experiences intense tourism, concentrated over a single period of the year, during the Feast of Our Lady of Lapa. In order to evaluate the impacts felt by the invertebrate community from this tourism, a new methodology was proposed. Four types of areas (intense visitation area, outlying visitation areas, moderate visitation areas and no-visitation areas) were sampled for invertebrates. There was one sampling prior and another on the last day of the 128th feast, to evaluate the effects of visitation on cave-dwelling invertebrates. Results show that invertebrate populations residing in more intensely visited areas of the cave undergo changes in distribution following the event. As a consequence of tourism, invertebrates shift to outlying locations from the visited area, which serve as refuges to the communities. Apparently, the fact that there are places inside Lapa Nova inaccessible to tourists reduces the impact suffered by the invertebrate community, as those sites serve as refuges for cave-dwelling organisms during the pilgrimage. A proper management plan was devised for the tourism/religious use of the cave. It consists basically of delimiting marked pathways for tourists, allowing invertebrates to seek shelter at locations outside visited areas and keeping no-visitation areas off-limits to tourism based on the results of the visitation effects on cave-dwelling invertebrates.
Pellegrini, Thais Giovannini and Rodrigo Lopes Ferreira.
Management in a neotropical show cave: planning for invertebrates conservation.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol41/iss2/27