The Fragile Underground
This booklet discusses caves and the many elements of the sport of caving. Exploring caves is becoming increasingly popular in all areas of the world, and caving responsibly is more important now than ever. Discussions include safety, training, and learning to reduce the detrimental effect cavers can have on caves and cave owner relations.
Caves are the world’s most remote and fragile wilderness. They provide irreplaceable habitats for rare plants and animals, some of which spend their entire lives in complete darkness. On its way to our drinking supply, water often travels through caves into wells, springs, and aquifers, the source of most of our drinking water. Many caves also preserve fragile prehistoric and historic records.
Bats are among the most beneficial, yet misunder-stood, mammals. They control insect populations, pollinate cacti and tropical fruit trees, and are important to medical and scientific advances. More than 1,100 bat species have been identified — a fifth of all known species of mammals. Sadly, bat colonies throughout the world are declining drastically due to human activities and disease.
About the NSS
Members of the NSS Landowner Relations Network Committee (LRNC) endeavor to establish a relationship with cave landowners that see fre-quent visitors, and reach out to landowners of closed or limited-access caves to bring goodwill from the NSS. The NSS LRNC also works with grottos and internal organizations of the NSS to provide support for questions that private landowners have about their caves.
Learn about the Society’s diverse programs, activities, and aspects of speleology in which members are involved. Understand the benefits of membership in the Society, and the value of membership to caves, caving, and speleology, and preservation. Consider joining the NSS today if you aren’t a member already. At just $40 a year, it is a great benefit and provides access to the NSS bookstore.
The Cave Preservation Network is a
collaboration of cave
explorers, cave owners, and the public. All
have a vested interest in protecting these
fragile places. We are working together to educate the public about the importance of caves and karst lands, increase funding for cave-related research, and fund the creation of new cave preserves!
Lava Tube Caves
Lava tubes are caves to and they play important roles in our eco-system, our history, and our culture. Caves formed in lava are found where volcanoes have produced certain types of flowing lava: western United States, Canary Islands, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kenya, Australia, Pacific Ocean islands, and other volcanic hot spots. The islands of Hawaii harbor some of the world’s most spectacular lava tubes.
For every decision related to a cave, the foremost concern should be perpetuation of speleological processes, values, and resources. As cavers, cave managers, land owners, project leaders, and speleologists, what factors should we consider when making decisions for cave systems?This book, crafted to explore questions and formatted to use as a field manual, explores current best practices in cave conservation.