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Task Group on "Responsible Speleology"


Appointed on 21st June 2021 by the IAPG Secretary General



Mike Buchanan (United Kingdom)

He has thirty years' experience as speleologist, karstologist. He has focused his interest on the management and conservation of karst groundwater systems and their subterranean component. He has professional experience in the exploration of caves and confined spaces; groundwater tracing and vulnerability mapping of karst freshwater aquifers, in relation to catchments; pollution point source identification by chemical analysis. He was co-author of The Management of Karst Landscapes and Caves for UNESCO Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site 2002. He is member of the IAPG Board of Expert for Geoethics in Speleology.


Oana Teodora Moldovan (Romania)

She has a degree at the Faculty of Biology, Geography & Geology, “Babes Bolyai” University, Cluj (Romania) and got her PhD at the "Paul Sabatier" Université, Toulouse (France) in 1997. She is Senior Researcher at the Romanian Academy, “Emil Racovita” Institute of Speleology, Cluj Department, Associated Professor at the Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Associated Researcher at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, CENIEH (Burgos, Spain), and Associated Researcher at the Romanian Institute of Science and Technology (RIST). She gave lectures on Hydrobiology, Ecological reconstruction, Statistics for ecology, Biospeleology. She is editor-in-chief of Subterranean Biology and associated editor of Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. She got the George Barițiu Medal for outstanding scientific results from the Romanian Academy – Cluj Branch in 2016.

Aleksandar Antić (Serbia)

He is born in Požarevac, Serbia in 1994. He is currently a PhD student and researcher at the University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Geography Tourism and Hotel Management. Moreover, he is working as Assistant Editor for the MDPI publisher. His research includes the management of geoheritage, geoconservation and sustainable geotourism destination development, with a special focus on cave management and show cave tourism and speleology. He has published over 10 papers in international scientific journals and has attended numerous international conferences. He is a member of European Geosciences Union and Serbian Geographical Society.   

Okinawa, Japan


Mike Buchanan.jpg
Mike Buchanan
(United Kingdom)
Oana T. Moldovan
Alexsandar Antic.jpg
Aleksandar Antić


White Paper on Responsible Speology

Drafting Committee: Mike Buchanan, Oana Teodora Moldovan, Aleksandar Antić 

Reviewed by: Caroline Lessio Cazarin*, Murray Macgregor, Peter T. Bobrowski & Other Anonymous Experts.

Approved by the IAPG Executive Council

30th August 2022

*Passed away in 2023

This document sets goals that are reflected within the context of geoethical activities in speleology (speleoethics). This includes highlighting of scientific and educational factors, technical considerations, characteristics and values of subterranean georesources. Bearing in mind the significant vulnerability of subterranean karst environments. It is necessary to have an up to date, complete, and comprehensive understanding of potential anthropogenic impacts that can occur to geological, sedimentological, climatological, hydrological and biological components of caves and host karst systems. Within scientific peer-reviewed publications, there is little available on this topic. For this reason, this document proposes guidelines on how individuals should behave within caves. Which regulations and standards should be respected, as well as what measures should be taken in order to achieve maximum protection of caves. Furthermore, the pursuit of networking across speleological associations and the modernisation of multidisciplinary cooperation that should adhere to set geoethical strategies for speleoethics, is an important goal of this document. Mostly, because of geoethics, speleoethics can ensure objectivity and the improvement of ethically-responsible behavior towards caves and host karst. Also creating a unique approach for all individuals and interested communities to geoethical codes in speleology, is a crucial value to further gain and understand knowledge about caves and karst. Providing enhanced conservation management and protection of nature’s subterranean accessible environments is the goal.

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