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European Cave Protection Commission

The European Cave Protection Commission of the European Speleological Federation (FSE) is an initiative for the preservation of speleological patrimony in whole Europe. The European speleological community includes a vast variety of about 50.000 cavers in all the caving nations from all over Europe. All of them are combined by their common passion to the underground. Since the exploring, the surveying and the scientific work in geology, hydrology, archaeology, paleontology, climatology, biology and other disciplines are taking place in the dark of the underground, caves and speleology are unfortunately still a minor topic for the public.

But first of all caves are fascinating and worth protecting ecosystems. This speleological and natural heritage is worth to be preserved for the next generations as it combines the natural and historical past with our present.

For the human kind they are simply one of the last places on earth, one can still discover like a whole new planet. And this spirit of research keeps all of the speleologists going caving all the year along being underground in Europe.
But this underground world faces many anthropogenic hazards nowadays - quarries, road / building construction, contamination with pollutants and many more. These are cases, which occur in many countries and require big efforts of the local speleological communities, sometimes far beyond their opportunities.

Recognising that these local cases are an indication of missing knowledge about the worthy of protection for this part of our environment, the idea to work on cave protection at a European level arose. The European Cave Protection Commission of the European Speleological Federation (FSE) was founded. The commission consists of members from more than 15 countries at the moment and several other countries declared their interest. All of them are speleologists since long time and work on cave protection in their own countries beside their engagement on the European level.

The mission of the European Cave Protection Commission (ECPC)
To identify collective activities, to put “cave protection” to a priority level within the EU concerns of preservation habitats, species, geotopes, caves as cultural sites and karst and pseudokarst as protected areas.

The aim of the European Cave Protection Commission is also to combine the single efforts of local speleologists and national speleological associations to an international active group, which encourage the European praxis on cave and karst protection. Furthermore local and national activities shall be encouraged and supported by the commission in order to assist the European speleologists in their interaction with public authorities.

To give cave protection a long-term basis, the European Cave Protection Commission regards the collaboration with the European Commission as essential as well as the support of interaction of their representatives and the speleological federations with the national governments. Moreover the co-operation with non-governmental organisations shall be encouraged.

The European Cave Protection Commission has set the following objectives for their activities:

political cave protection

Establishing the European Cave Protection Commission as main contact for cave and karst protection for all European countries

Setting up a political lobby for caves/ cave protection and protection of karst and pseudokarst areas in Europe

Contributing to protect the national speleological and natural heritage at European level

Proposing new directives for cave and karst protection

Sensitising for the vulnerability of caves

Sensitising the public for the importance of caves in environmental protection and research

Attracting the attention of financers to the needs of preservation of caves and karst

Increasing of public awareness concerning cave protection correlated with proper information in the frame of the international and European recommendations (IUCN directory guidelines, CE Directives).

Developing the collaboration with national and European institutions responsible with the implementation of Natura 2000 network.

Increasing of the role of volunteers networks through a correlated policy between the national organizations and through the significant help from resources for this kind of networks

Rendering expert opinion

applied cave protection

Providing information about cave and karst protection in Europe and its implementation for public authorities, speleological organizations, non-governmental organizations and others

Setting up the "EuroSpeleo Protection Label" for exemplary cave environmental actions

Sustaining the training of managers, keepers and rangers for the protected areas, through the supply of learning material and of an organizational framework necessary for courses, seminars, stages, etc.

Preserving the intactness of the ecosystem of caves and prevent damages

Informing about cave protection techniques

Encouraging the scientific knowledge about caves and (pseudo-)karst
Carrying out the inventory of caves and their fauna, of karst phenomena, flora and fauna specific to the karst with the purpose of preserving them

Developing the own FSUE resources directed towards the protection and preservation of caves.

Publishing new directives for cave and (pseudo) karst protection

Elaborating unitary "recommandations" to divers aspects about cave’s protection: bat’s protection, approvals for costructions in karstic area, working on palaeontology and archaeology in caves, tourism in caves and many more

Organizing educational projects


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