CONSERVATION OF CAVES AND KARST FORMS
All caves of the Czech Republic are strictly protected according to § 10 of the law No. 114/1992 on the Protection of Nature and the Landscape. They cannot be destroyed or damaged with only exception in mining areas with permitted exploitation according the law No. 44/1988 (Mining Law).
The full text of the § 10 of the law no. 114/1992 on the Protection of Nature and the Landscape is as follows:
- Caves are an underground space caused by the effects of natural factors. For the purpose of this Act, caves are also understood to be natural phenomena on the Earth’s surface and underground, which are in direct causal nexus with caves.
- It is prohibited to damage or destroy caves. The approval of the Nature Conservancy authorities is required for accesion to caves or their utilisation, according to separate regulations.
Except this general but the most strict protection, caves can be protected themselves or as a part of some of other categories of specially protected areas: natural monument, national natural monument, natural reservation, national natural reservation, protected landscape area, national park. Within the general category of conservation, caves can be included into registered important landscape form, regional system of ecological stability or natural park. They can be covered also by the protection of biotope of specially protected of endangered floral or faunal species (e.g. bats). All important karst areas of the Czech Republic lie within landscape protected areas (e.g. Moravian and Bohemian Karst); all more important caves are national natural monuments or represent a part of national natural reservations or national parks. The conditions of their conservation are stated by the law and special decree of foundation. The care is regulated by the plans of care.
Caves with archaeological finds are protected, more, by the law No. 20/1987 on state care on monuments. They cannot be touched without the permission of respective body of state care on monuments and without the collaboration with specialised archaeological office.
The Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic established the specialised Agency of Nature and Landscape Conservation of the Czech Republic for the administration of especially protected areas, to ensure the care in national categories of strictly protected areas, to ensure care on selected caves and for protection and presentation of all open-to-public caves. The agency in Prague established regional offices within the whole republic. The administration of landscape protected areas and national parks are ensured by local management offices.