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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020396

Tourist Traffic Significantly Affects Microbial Communities of Sandstone Cave Sediments in the Protected Landscape Area “Labské Pískovce” (Czech Republic): Implications for Regulatory Measures

1
Faculty of Environment, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Králova Výšina 3132/7, Ústí nad Labem 400 96, Czech Republic
2
Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Benátská 2, CZ12800 Praha, Czech Republic
3
Crop Research Institute, Drnovská 507/73, 161 06 Praha 6 - Ruzyně, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Abstract

In the Protected Landscape Area “Labské pískovce” (Czech Republic), there are many sandstone caves accessible by permission only and where climbing equipment is commonly required. The tradition of visiting the caves dates back to turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and visitors traditionally record their visits in log-books. We have gathered attendance data from 12 caves from log-books and via survey (2-year form collection period). The attendance varied from less than 10 to ~650 visitors annually. Signs of inadequate behavior of visitors were observed, especially waste disposal and smoking in the caves. Sediment step-compression increased significantly the ratios of fungi/bacteria and gram-positive to gram-negative (G+/G−) phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) as well as PLFA of actinobacteria and activities of sediment phosphatases, glucosidases, and peroxidases. The number of visitors was correlated positively with the G+/G− ratio and sediment nutrients but negatively with sediment moisture and the activity of peroxidases. The results indicate a significant effect of attendance on sediment microbial communities, most likely caused by the import of nutrients into caves. Hence, reconsideration of the cave attendance policy is recommended. View Full-Text
Keywords: sandstone caves; “Labské Pískovce”; sediment microbial communities; phospholipid fatty acids; soil enzyme activities sandstone caves; “Labské Pískovce”; sediment microbial communities; phospholipid fatty acids; soil enzyme activities
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Kukla, J.; Holec, M.; Trögl, J.; Holcová, D.; Hofmanová, D.; Kuráň, P.; Popelka, J.; Pacina, J.; Kříženecká, S.; Usťak, S.; Honzík, R. Tourist Traffic Significantly Affects Microbial Communities of Sandstone Cave Sediments in the Protected Landscape Area “Labské Pískovce” (Czech Republic): Implications for Regulatory Measures. Sustainability 2018, 10, 396.

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