Cave Protection

Cave Protection

When you visit a cave, take nothing with you, leave nothing behind, destroy nothing, and don’t kill anything but time.
Help to keep the world without light intact. We are only guests in it.


Caves are diverse and extremely sensitive natural sites worth preserving and to strictly protect them as scientific archives, as habitats, and also for aesthetic reasons.

Since 2018, caves are specially protected biotopes according to the Federal Nature Conservation Act § 30.
During the bat hibernation period from 01 October to 31 March caving activities in bat roosts are generally prohibited according to the Federal Nature Conservation Act §39 paragraph 6.

Hazards to caves include

  • Total or partial destruction by mining of limestone and gypsum, or by construction projects

  • Input of pollutants, through dumps and drip-water, which can contaminate groundwater drinking water resources very quickly and almost unfiltered. Consequently, the application of fertilizers or pesticides on agricultural land in karst areas is also very problematic.

  • Vandalism and overfrequency by visitors

  • Illegal excavations for archaeological, paleontological or mineralogical findings

The VdHK has adopted ethical guidelines and a list of requirements for commercial cave trekking for the protection of caves and other karst features.

Project Clean up the Dark

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Karst areas Germany
Cleanup actions 2019 -2023 (green dot)


The contribution of German cave and karst research to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030)

The German Speleological federation (VdHK) is committed to the exploration and protection of underground ecosystems. This includes both their geodeiversity and biodiversity. This contributes to the Goals especially in the areas of land protection, biodiversity, water protection, tourism and education. In particular, these covers the following sustainability Goals "Quality education", "Clean water and sanitation", "Climate action", "Life on land" and "Partnerships to achieve the Goals".

The United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda is a global action plan for sustainable development. It addresses major global challenges and provides a reference framework for the international community to jointly address the challenges and design solution strategies. With it’s 17 sustainability goals, the action plan covers areas of environmental, social and economic development.

UN Sustainable Development Goals and the VdHK