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Scientists Agree that “Test Blasting” is a Useless to Measure Impact on Biological Life and Water in a Situation Such as that of Pinagrealan


Excerpt from Scientific Papers:

First, most subterranean voids have no entrances that are accessible to humans (Curl 1958). The small and inaccessible network of underground voids and fissures is almost limitless, and this network (rather than caves) represents the elective habitat for most subterranean species (Howarth 1983).

Second, groundwater (i.e., water in the voids in consolidated and unconsolidated rocks) represents 95% of global unfrozen fresh water and hosts organisms specialized to survive at limits of life (Fišer et al. 2014), as well as more numerous species that are important to maintaining groundwater quality (Griebler et al. 2014).

Furthermore, anchialine ecosystems, represented by coastal, tidally influenced, subterranean estuaries located within crevicular and cavernous terrains, are a specialized habitat straddling the border between subterranean freshwater and marine environments and host a specialized subterranean fauna (Bishop et al. 2015).

Also, a variety of superficial underground habitats, collectively termed shallow subterranean habitats, supports an extensive array of subterranean biota (Culver and Pipan 2014).

Finally, if one is keen to account also for microbial life, a large amount of continental prokaryotic biomass and, as yet, an unknown prokaryote diversity is hidden within these systems (Magnabosco et al. 2018).

Although habitats beneath the Earth’s surface are more widespread and diversified than is usually perceived, most of them cannot be mapped and directly studied, either because they are too deep or because they are hardly accessible to humans because they are inaccessible to humans given the infinitesimal size of many of these ‘pore space’ habitats. Consequently, specialized subterranean organisms remain among the least documented fauna on our planet. This impediment, recently termed the Racovitzan shortfall (Ficetola et al. 2019), poses a thorny question: If the real extension of the subterranean domain is unknown, and thebiota we observe in a cave are just the tip of the subterranean biodiversity iceberg, what can we do practically to protect the full extent of subterranean habitats and their inhabitants?

To make sound decisions for the conservation of the subterranean world, there is first an urgent need to accelerate scientific research, aimed at exploring subterranean biodiversity together with the abiotic and biotic factors that drive its distribution patterns across space and time. Available estimates (Zagmajster et al. 2018) suggest that most obligate subterranean species worldwide have not yet been described (i.e., a Linnean shortfall). In the epoch of the sixth mass extinction crisis, many of these species may face extinction before they are discovered and formally described—a phenomenon described by Wilson (1992) as “centinelan extinctions.” Moreover, several other knowledge gaps impede our ability to protect and conserve subterranean biodiversity (table 1). The distribution (i.e., the Wallacean shortfall) and the life history of most described subterranean species are virtually unknown. Acquiring basic knowledge about biological and functional diversity of subterranean organisms (i.e., the Raunkiæran shortfall), their phylogenetic relationships (i.e., the Darwinian shortfall), their interactions within different subterranean communities (i.e., the Eltonian shortfall), and their sensitivity to environmental perturbations (i.e., the Hutchinsonian shortfall), represent pivotal steps toward consolidating scientific knowledge to support conservation planning (Cardoso et al. 2011A, Diniz-Filho et al. 2013, Hortal et al. 2015) and further understanding the ecosystem services that the subterranean fauna provide.

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Pinagrealan Cave in Barangay Bigte, Norzagaray, Bulacan, Philippines, Rosemarie M Capa, Rose Capa, Barangay Captain Rose Capa, Rosemary Capa, Alfredo Germar, Fred Germar, Restituto Sumbillo, Resty Sumbillo, Baby Cristosomo, Lapig, Lamadrid, Policarpio, Cruz, Venecio, Delossantos, Angob

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