State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic Slovak Caves Administration
Štátna ochrana prírody
SlovenskyEnglishDeutschMagyarulPolski

Geoecological research and protection of caves

The caves represent specific natural geosystems with several special physiognomic features of geographical sphere components, spatial organization and natural processes. The caves are without pedogenetic processes and photosynthesis, and characteristical are special features of biocomponen­ts, speleoclimate, water as a part of hydrosphere and lithosphere with cave georelief in the zone of hypergenesis.

Demarcation of speleotopes, speleochores and sets of speleochoresCave geosystems are characteristic by spatial (vertical and horizontal) structure (speleotopes, speleochores, sets of speleochores) and time-spatial changes (seasonal regime, dynamics induced by the change of geoecological invariant, evolutional development in geological times). The knowledge on spatial structure and time-spatial changes of cave geosystems are important in dealing with various analytical and synthetical tasks, including environmental problems in karst landscape. The cave geosystems have strong relations with surface landscape systems. From the vertical point of view, it means mainly seepage of rainfall waters, from the horizontal one it means ponor autochthonous or allochthonous water courses.

Many anthropogenic activities influence natural processes, by which is the structure stability of cave geosystems disturbed. Among the most negative anthropogenic impacts belong: pollution of underground waters and damaging or even destroying of cave water fauna by sinking allochthonous water courses polluted by sewage from manure dumps and agrochemicals; seepage of atmospheric waters contaminated by agrochemicals or industrial imissions; disturbing of hydrological regime of seepage rainfall waters due to removing the vegetation cover, floating in soil sediments into cave spaces after deforestation or improper ploughing above the cave or within its catchment area, chemical destruction of dripstone fills by aggressive waters due to anthropogenic impacts, breaking off the flowstone fills, throwing waste into abysses, illegal collection of cave fauna, osteological and archaeological findings. Known are also cases of destroying caves by mining in quarries or at construction of roads. The regeneration capacity of karst landscape including caves is small, and in some cases impossible.

Speleomorphochores and a set of speleomorphochores in the Ochtinská Aragonite CaveSpeleomorphotopes in the Ochtinská Aragonite CaveThe self-regulation of cave geosystems and limit values of their resistance are important from the viewpoint of cave protection. On the basis of monitoring of these changes, the attendance of show caves is regulated and limited. Since the karst permeability in soluble rocks is connected with low filtration ability, the self-cleaning process of polluted underground waters is also low and in advanced stage of karstification is almost absent. The stability of speleotopes, speleochores and sets of speleochores is categorized on the basis of hydrological processes character, degree of karst permeability and character of further components of cave environment.

News

Cave visit with small children

Dear visitors, due to increased visitation of parents with very small children (circa up to 3 - 4 years of age), we would like to kindly ask you to have a rucksack baby carrier with you for visiting the more demanding caves in given time. This recommendation concerns all caves but the most concerned are the following ones: Demänovská Cave of Liberty, Belianska Cave, Dobšinská Ice Cave, Demänovská Ice Cave, Harmanecká Cave. We also ask you to consider visiting the cave with your crying child, which could disturb the other visitors. Thank you for understanding and we wish you a nice experience.

Cave tour guides for download

Dear visitors, cave tour guides are available for download

Underground boat trip in Domica Cave not available.

Due to low yield of underground water the boat trip in Domica Cave is not available. The short tour is available.

Thank you for understanding

Partner

Správa jeskyní České republikyHabakuky