Why would anyone want to conserve a cave? Spelaeology (the study of caves) is a rather esoteric subject, less well known than geology or archaeology. Ignorance of the fragile cave environment appears to be the greatest destructive force, which has reduced outstanding caves to mere ruins of their former selves. Introducing visitors into this environment exposes the cave, and all it represents, to influences that need to be carefully managed. ABIS conservation policy is driven by the fundamental and obvious fact that the cave environment is irreplaceable and non-renewable.
Among many other conservation issues, the key issues arising from the introduction of visitors into the cave are the balance of carbon dioxide, dust and fibre particles, the deterioration of cave formations from touch and wilful damage and the growth of plant life. Our operating procedures are designed to protect the cave from excessive exposure to these damaging factors.
The influences of the statutory regulatory bodies, English Heritage and Natural England, together with membership of ABIS, facilitate discussion of these issues with leading academic authorities and other operators of show caves and wild caves.