Author Topic: Extreme Conservation?  (Read 5143 times)

Online Ian Adams

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Extreme Conservation?
« on: January 10, 2017, 11:29:10 am »
The issue of (extreme) conservation having become topical, I would be interested in views on this very real scenario;

A cave, in North Wales exists.

The entrance is roughly 10 feet wide by 6 feet high but it is filled with glacial sediment in its entirety.

In the 1970’s there was an exploratory dig undertaken which only looked at the material in the sediment at the mouth of the cave (no attempt to gain entry was made). The dig revealed many things including broken formations within the sediment. Some detail was recorded. One of the people involved is a noted published author of caves and mines. Additionally, he is a researcher (and historian?) and he has suggested that this particular cave may well be of significant interest/importance.

The lack of (landowner) permission to dig has meant that the cave has been undisturbed since the 1970’s (and obviously for the time prior to that) and it does not seem likely that permission will be granted any time in the near future.

With regards to conservation;

1)   The face of rock that the cave sits in is known to have receded by several hundred metres at least due to natural geological changes over time (before humans could record anything).
2)   The existence of broken formations within the glacial sediment suggests that (significant) damage has already occurred to the cave system by natural means.
3)   The geological evidence suggests a cave system exists within that may well be substantial.
4)   In other nearby caves, evidence has been found of animals using the cave(s) as shelter. In fact, the oldest known recorded human tooth (I think it was a “human” tooth but am happy to stand corrected) was found in a nearby cave which may well be part of the same system.

The questions then beg themselves (accepting landowner wishes are paramount);

A)   Given that “nature” has already caused (significant) damage, is the need for conservation mitigated?
B)   Is the scientific importance of exploration increased because of the (increasing) natural destruction?
C)   Is the scientific importance of exploration increased because of the nearby findings of the ancient historical use of such caves?
D)   Does conservation trump exploration/science in this instance?
E)   What other factors should be considered in this scenario?

Obviously I am aiming the question at our friend in the USA but it would be interesting to get a wider view from people already engaged (or not engaged) in the other similar forum topics.

 :)

Ian
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Offline Alex

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2017, 12:52:00 pm »
I would say until it is discovered you have nothing to conserve. I think its rather pointless conserving something that no one is ever going to see or examine, because who are you conserving it for?
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2017, 01:14:16 pm »
I would say until it is discovered you have nothing to conserve. I think its rather pointless conserving something that no one is ever going to see or examine, because who are you conserving it for?

For the scholars of the future. It is common to leave large areas of archaeological sites unexcavated to allow future generations a go who will benefit from better equipment and more sophisticated science. A generation ago, a human tooth was just a tooth - now oxygen isotope analysis of dental enamel can assist in determining the individual's place of origin, and DNA analysis can tell us a lot about the individual.

Offline royfellows

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2017, 01:20:38 pm »
I would say until it is discovered you have nothing to conserve. I think its rather pointless conserving something that no one is ever going to see or examine, because who are you conserving it for?

For the scholars of the future. It is common to leave large areas of archaeological sites unexcavated to allow future generations a go who will benefit from better equipment and more sophisticated science. A generation ago, a human tooth was just a tooth - now oxygen isotope analysis of dental enamel can assist in determining the individual's place of origin, and DNA analysis can tell us a lot about the individual.

With respect I question this view straight away because it appears to me that we have an indeterminate time span?
When will we know 'when the time is right'?
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Offline langcliffe

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2017, 01:28:41 pm »
With respect I question this view straight away because it appears to me that we have an indeterminate time span? When will we know 'when the time is right'?

With equal respect, the view I put forward didn't raise the issue of a "right" or "wrong" time. I assume that if knowledge of a site can be enhanced as a result of a scientific break-through, then further limited  excavation / destruction of the site would be merited.

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 01:58:10 pm »
With respect I question this view straight away because it appears to me that we have an indeterminate time span?
When will we know 'when the time is right'?

That's why archaeologists do digs now even though they know they are probably destroying evidence they could obtain in the future. They only leave some stuff for the future.

Offline caver.adam

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2017, 03:34:27 pm »
I think the question goes back to what the goals are.

What is the goal of the conservation? What is the goal(s) of keeping people out? Does keeping people out meet the goals of the conservation? What are the larger community benefits of the conservation? Owner benefits? Project member benefits?

What are the goals of the exploration/"science"? What are the larger community benefits for the exploration? Owner benefits? Project member benefits (these come last on purpose)? Does having people explore the cave have more worth to the community at large and the owner than keeping people out of the cave does?

You have to add up all the relative worths. If you want the owner to let you into the cave the first place to start is by asking what they want. For the first several conversations don't even think about what you want. You'll learn a lot that may be used in a negotiation later. Many people are so busy thinking about what they want that they push the owners away. When everyone believes that the relative worth of having people explore the cave is higher than keeping people out it will change the situation.

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2017, 04:34:11 pm »
Ian Adams, clearly your going to have to leave a bigger bone outside the kennel to tempt this worthy individual to join in this earnest and real world example.

Online NewStuff

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2017, 06:06:12 pm »
Ian Adams, clearly your going to have to leave a bigger bone outside the kennel to tempt this worthy individual to join in this earnest and real world example.

He's a Yank, probably hasn't woken up yet... or is searching for a new keyboard after wearing his existing one out.
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Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2017, 07:37:53 pm »
With respect I question this view straight away because it appears to me that we have an indeterminate time span?
When will we know 'when the time is right'?

That's why archaeologists do digs now even though they know they are probably destroying evidence they could obtain in the future. They only leave some stuff for the future.

I think the vast majority of modern archaeological excavations are 'rescue', where the site is going to be destroyed/damaged anyway by eg quarrying or development.
Laser scanning and curating seem to be sufficiently developed that useful scientific data can later be obtained.
Bear in mind that excavation itself involves the destruction of the *original* site, and what you see afterwards is a modern 'restoration', in sites that are not destroyed by development.....
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Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2017, 07:44:21 pm »
Bear in mind that excavation itself involves the destruction of the *original* site, and what you see afterwards is a modern 'restoration', in sites that are not destroyed by development.....

so what your saying is don't go caving and it won't get destroyed

Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2017, 07:47:57 pm »
I'm writing about archaeology not caving.
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Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2017, 08:28:07 pm »
I'm writing about archaeology not caving.
maybe you should go on a "archaeology " forum if your going to use it as a point of ref.
be a bit more constructive about the thread and you won't get hit with a big stick (so to speak ;))

Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2017, 08:28:55 pm »
I was replying to Andrewmc...take a chill pill big man
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Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2017, 08:32:30 pm »
 
I was replying to Andrewmc...take a chill pill big man

 :thumbsup:

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2017, 08:38:18 pm »
Quote
Obviously I am aiming the question at our friend in the USA 

Ian,
We both know that I am not qualified to answer these questions, except perhaps A: Of course not!
The effects of nature will have dictated what is available to use, value, or conserve, but damage to one thing does not permit needless damage to another thing. Or a measure of damage by nature does not permit further needless damage by us. If a tornado demolishes acres of virgin timber, for example, does this indicate that a clear-cut of the surrounding acres is justifiable?

The rest of your questions must obviously be answered by those personally involved. If they care about conservation, they will have to weigh carefully the potential results of any course of action, and try to pick the one that will be the least damaging to the resources involved, which as you outline are several. I cannot know what that would mean in this case, but the questions are at least interesting, and similar ones ought to part of all of our decisions involving land and cave use.

Now, I can give an uninformed guess as to what I would do in this situation. This seems like a site with enormous archeological, and possibly exploratory, potential. It also seems like a site with limited (at present) aesthetic value, and zero (at present) exploratory value. So, if the site is as special as it sounds, I would make archaeology first priority. If afterward I was free to do so, I may progress with exploration using the same conservation values that I apply to every other cave that I dig open and explore.

Out of interest, what are the preferences of the cavers involved in this particular site? What would they do, if granted freedom by the owner?

Online Ian Adams

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2017, 10:01:49 pm »
The scenario is completely real and I have portrayed the circumstances accurately.

There is no permission to dig so the debate is philosophical rather than a discussion which might lead to a course of action.

There is no requirement to be "qualified" (that would lead to a arguments as to the value of such a qualification and whether it bestows any standing over peers).

There are no other cavers (or other parties involved) since no permission has been (or is likely to be) given.

In the previous threads, value was placed on scientific advancement and educational research by some. Your position was to favour conservation over both of those. In this (real) scenario, there is substantial reason to believe that we may learn a great deal about both the geological history as well as fauna and human habitation. Since there is a real basis for this, I was questioning whether the conservation/science balance had shifted. Your answer (with an exclamation mark) suggests that, in your opinion, it does not (fair enough).

I am particularly interested in opinions.

It was suggested elsewhere (words to the effect) what is the point of conservation if you cannot see it?   I could re-word and ask, is there beauty in something you cannot see?

Furthermore, in this real scenario, we already know that formations and beauty has been lost to glacial effects. How much longer should we wait before we explore and record that which is left? (or should we not?)

Where is the line in the sand?

Ultimately, I do not think there is a definable answer and I believe that we each hold a value at a different point (some closer than others). It is these differences I am interested in (you appear to be at the further end of the proverbial spectrum).

To address a couple of your quotes;

"but damage to one thing does not permit needless damage to another" (in the context of nature having already damaged the cave). I would suggest you do not need "permission" (except the landowner of course) nor is it "needless". I see it as a "choice". The question (in my mind) is whether the balance of conservations Vs. Science has been tipped over to Science (or whether we are now on the other side of the proverbial line in the sand). That, I think, falls to "opinion" (and is why I value it here).

"If a tornado demolishes acres of virgin timber, for example, does this indicate that a clear-cut of the surrounding acres is justifiable?"
I don't think that is a reasonable analogy. There is no suggestion of "clear-cutting" the cave. The (philosophical) reality would be to remove sufficient glacial sediment to create entry then to assess as progress is made. To examine the sediment for historical evidence and examine the cave for history evidence of it being used as a shelter. To examine (so far as is practical - another "opinion") the extent of the cave and the formations therein, To record those formations and to seek knowledge and science from them. Would that really be "damaging"?

Assuming you argue that any human interaction causes some damage (which I would be willing to accept), does the cost outweigh the gain?

Again, I see that answer as an opinion and, again, it is precisely this I am interested in (from all parts of the spectrum).

Ian
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Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2017, 10:13:03 pm »
mr kenilworth HAS dug in caves to explore/investigate cave systems . so in his own opinion he has damaged caves, to what extent only he know's

Offline royfellows

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2017, 10:13:51 pm »

I am particularly interested in opinions.


I like, too many people around who are only interested in their own.

Meant generally so not pertinent in particular to the thread, sorry.
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2017, 10:37:26 pm »
You are absolutely correct that there is no definable line, but I think that our personal lines are nearer than you realize.

Quote
The (philosophical) reality would be to remove sufficient glacial sediment to create entry then to assess as progress is made. To examine the sediment for historical evidence and examine the cave for history evidence of it being used as a shelter. To examine (so far as is practical - another "opinion") the extent of the cave and the formations therein, To record those formations and to seek knowledge and science from them.

This sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
Maybe damage is not the best word to use at all. Maybe it is only damage when it is needless, that is when our choice uses something up without providing any benefit to anyone, or when the benefits are far too small to justify the costs. If this is the case, then cavemanmike is partly correct. I have dug in many caves. I have done damage. But not all of my digging has been damage.

Part of the reason that I do not give "scientific advancement and educational research" priority when deciding how to manage a cave is that very few caves will ever be the sites of such work. There are tens of thousands of caves within a day's drive of my home, and only a tiny fraction will be used scientifically. If I had some reason to believe that a particular cave was scientifically significant, then obviously its "resources" would change, and priorities would rightly swing toward investigation of these resources. I do not believe that there is any such thing as "conservation vs. science". Science can be practiced as carefully as anything else.

In speaking about permission, I only refer to the permission of a healthy conscience, based on fidelity to the land and to other humans.


Offline adam

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2017, 11:11:04 pm »
It was suggested elsewhere (words to the effect) what is the point of conservation if you cannot see it?   I could re-word and ask, is there beauty in something you cannot see?

That suggestion prickled me as well. Of course there is beauty in what you can't see, it's just there to be appreciated by someone other than yourself. Further, many people would say that nature (including caves) has an intrinsic value which is unrelated to their potential for economic exploitation or human gratification.

As a slight aside, I often wonder if the reason people drop litter is because they have no intention of revisiting that site, so don't place a value on it once it has been seen and enjoyed by them... but that's probably trying to assign logic where there is none.

Online Ian Adams

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2017, 08:37:14 am »
Kenilworth,

Having read and re-read your last reply (up), would it be reasonable to conclude that it is your opinion that each cave should be looked at on a "one by one" basis" as to the merits of whether (and how) to conserve/explore?

If it is, we are certainly one step closer to clarification and understanding of your conservational values.

Probably, we all have such an opinion. It will be where the line is drawn that changes (we'll come back to that).

Right so far?

Ian
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Offline corax

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2017, 09:39:50 am »
Consider the other local caves for a moment. the excavations in these had been at best, well documented archaeological digs, at worse, exploitation by bone hunters.
In both cases the glacial sediments where considered at least unimportant and at most a hindrance to their aims and removed without much thought to the geological value of these sediments and as such little to no effort was made to document the sediments themselves.

As such, whilst the cave may hold a potential archaeological value, due to the loss of other local examples of glacially filled caves it's geological value should be considered greater and thus worthy of conservation against inconsiderate excavation.

Excavation could well be carried out considerately, perhaps if arrangements where made for excavations to be conducted under the guidance of an academic, i.e. someone who is qualified to offer a professional opinion and thus guidance on how to excavate and document such a site.

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2017, 11:58:54 am »
Quote
  would it be reasonable to conclude that it is your opinion that each cave should be looked at on a "one by one" basis" as to the merits of whether (and how) to conserve/explore?
 

Absolutely

Online Ian Adams

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2017, 12:34:39 pm »
I like, too many people around who are only interested in their own.

I understand Roy. It’s a shame though. You posted elsewhere that you had a great interest in “mine conservation” and that this required (pretty much) an opposite approach to “cave conservation”. I don’t think your opinion is negated in any way but I do understand your hesitation to express it.


Corax,
I can see you are a member of one of the North Wales clubs and probably know which cave I am talking about. I was trying to avoid being specific (because it is real and I don’t really want to attract attention to it). If you know the other caves and are aware of the recorded findings then maybe your opinion (in this real scenario) is much more pertinent. I certainly agree with your post.


Kenilworth,
Thank you.

The point of “this” thread is to try to find the elusive lines in the sand. From other threads it certainly appeared that you were at the very far end of the spectrum of conservation (to the point where a cave should not be entered). Now you have agreed that caves should be considered on their own merits. That moves you from the far end of the spectrum to somewhere within it.

In the original post, with the specific cave, I asked (and I know you did answer);

The questions then beg themselves (accepting landowner wishes are paramount);

A)   Given that “nature” has already caused (significant) damage, is the need for conservation mitigated?
B)   Is the scientific importance of exploration increased because of the (increasing) natural destruction?
C)   Is the scientific importance of exploration increased because of the nearby findings of the ancient historical use of such caves?
D)   Does conservation trump exploration/science in this instance?
E)   What other factors should be considered in this scenario?


Let us consider ONLY point “A” (again, we’ll get back to the rest). We’ll generalise it because everyone has an opinion and they are all valuable (of equal value?) and I believe it will help to put down a footstone.

The question now becomes with regards to any cave (addressed to any person);

Given that “nature” has already caused (significant) damage, at what point is the need for conservation mitigated in favour of exploration/scientific research/recording of information etc?


Ian
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Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2017, 08:47:38 pm »
i would be interested to know why glacial sediment outways the importance of the WHOLE cave.
i can see it has value for research , would it not be of greater benefit to remove some sediment whilst leaving a cross section exposed for investigation . in the meantime the removed sediment could be stored for a later date or researched immediately whilst the rest of the cave could be be explored/investigated (sympathetically)of coarse
just a thought 

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2017, 10:04:31 pm »
Quote
Given that “nature” has already caused (significant) damage, at what point is the need for conservation mitigated in favour of exploration/scientific research/recording of information etc?

Never. But conservation needs will shift from one resource to another. As I said earlier, science, digging, exploration, and documentation can all be practiced with care. Conservation can mean lots of things. It can mean use, as in the case of a sediment threatened with obliteration. Scientific use in this case is conservation, as it protects the thing of value from wasteful depletion. Deliberate and purposeful destruction is conservation if the only alternative is aimless and wasteful destruction.

Too many people mistakenly equate conservation with preservation (which it may include), or with avoiding impact. This is perhaps why many of my posts have been so wildly misunderstood. My ideas about conservation have never suggested that caves in general should not be entered, but that caving organizations do not equip people to "consider caves on their own merits," which I think we both agree is part of the foundation of conserving anything.

But maybe you were asking when the balance shifts from conserving speleogenic or aesthetic resources to conserving (by carefully using) scientific or exploratory resources? I cannot answer that question, especially if the cave is in Wales. I can only make that decision for caves that I know personally, and even then I will not always make the right one. It is too often after the fact that we realize the quality of our decisions, which is why I am trying to learn to take them more seriously (many of you say too seriously) before I act.

Online Ian Adams

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2017, 12:40:00 pm »
Very interesting reply.

To be more specific;


Never. But conservation needs will shift from one resource to another. As I said earlier, science, digging, exploration, and documentation can all be practiced with care.

and

Too many people mistakenly equate conservation with preservation (which it may include), or with avoiding impact. This is perhaps why many of my posts have been so wildly misunderstood.

These two statements (in my opinion) demonstrate very clearly that your previous posts have been misinterpreted or mis-understood (by people (including myself) in the UK).

If we (as cavers) are to have a meaningful debate, we need to understand how to communicate. There are clearly differences in the manner in which you (or the USA?) define “words” and the way in which they are interpreted (in the UK). That is no fault of yours (or ours) but I think is it now recognisable.

For instance; you use the word “resource” when referring to caves. In the UK we would more generally use the word as meaning something that has a purposeful use or value.  You appear to be using in a different context. (no one at fault in my opinion).

Similarly, you are making a distinction between conservation and preservation which may have escaped readers attention (it escaped mine).

I will try to post in a more generic manner which will (hopefully) be less liable to be interpreted differently to the intention.

Importantly, you appear to be saying that it is perfectly ok to enter cave where (and I am taking your words above) science, digging, exploration, and documentation can all be practiced with care.

Does my understanding accord with yours correctly so far ?

Ian

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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2017, 05:45:32 pm »
Quote
For instance; you use the word “resource” when referring to caves. In the UK we would more generally use the word as meaning something that has a purposeful use or value.  You appear to be using in a different context. (no one at fault in my opinion).

The word resource has a scary history of use, and I do not like to use it at all. But I mean the same thing you do. Cave resources are extremely varied, and can be aesthetic, scientific, cultural, recreational, spiritual, exploratory, culinary, agricultural, commercial and more. The task of assigning proper value to each and then using them without wastefulness, as is appropriate per particular cave, is the difficult job of every conservationist.

A strict preservationist can serve the purposes of future conservation, but is a coward, in my opinion. Preservation has its place, but to make it an obsession is to remove oneself from the processes of the world, and to absolve oneself from difficult thought.

Quote
Importantly, you appear to be saying that it is perfectly ok to enter cave where (and I am taking your words above) science, digging, exploration, and documentation can all be practiced with care.

Does my understanding accord with yours correctly so far ?

Of course.


Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2017, 08:02:55 pm »
Perhaps it is now time to define the term 'conservation'.

Because if it can't be defined, this discussion is going to be infinite: everyone will have their personal definition.

And well done Ian for your lucid and compact posts. For those of us with a 2-minute attention span it's a great relief.

 :)

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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2017, 08:21:35 pm »
Conservation? My dictionary says "protection against loss or depletion". Note that this definition does not say protection against impact or change or use. Since there are many of things in need of conservation, and since some of them are seemingly at odds with one another, what conservation practically means will, yes, be different for everyone.

The second entry under preservation says, "keeping in unaltered condition; maintain in an unchanged form," which is the aim of certain preservationist groups, and very different from ideal conservation.


Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2017, 09:12:29 pm »
Conservation? My dictionary says "protection against loss or depletion". Note that this definition does not say protection against impact or change or use.

It doesn't 'say' a lot of things.

Let's concentrate on what it DOES say. 

What sort of 'loss and depletion' takes place when people use caves for their recreation? How can this be prevented/ameliorated?

Your solution is, as I understand it, not to use them. And it's a pretty logical solution, if rather ....errrr....*extreme*.

Have I interpreted your missives correctly? Please remember my 2-minute attention span, especially after a night shift at work....
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2017, 09:17:28 pm »
Have I interpreted your missives correctly?

You have not.

If applied universally, abstinence from caving for conservation purposes is not logical. And it is not conservation, because in protecting one thing we are losing another. Conservation is not about preservation per se, it is about wisely determining relative values.


Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2017, 09:35:57 pm »
So when you were railing about the encouragement of people to go caving, implying it was 'a bad thing', that wasn't saying that people should not use caves?
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2017, 09:43:29 pm »
Certainly not, as a careful reading would have revealed.

I understand that some may not have the time or interest or patience to read and think along with a handful of paragraphs. This is ok. It also means that those same people are not qualified to pillory the author



Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2017, 09:51:51 pm »
I will admit that I'm not one to go through massive posts with a fine-tooth comb, hence asking for clarification in a more concise form. And I'd suggest I'm not alone in that.

So.

What *were* you suggesting?
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2017, 12:21:42 pm »
It's in the massive posts, with examples and justifications and possible questions and answers. I haven't been able to cook the entire concept down to a few tidy lines.





Offline pwhole

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2017, 03:39:21 pm »
This one wasn't bad as a concise summary of one point at least, in the Stagnation of Caving thread - it can be done  :ang:
Quote
But I think that caves are too singular and irreparable to be used as mere gyms.
http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=21411.msg272271#msg272271

Also noted the differences in language use between the UK and US, and it does often cause problems, especially in text-only communications. I used to write software manuals occasionally, and eventually trained myself to stop writing colour with a 'u', as 95% of our customers were US-based, and 'color' appeared about 50 times on every page. When I added up all those 'u's, I realised how much time I was saving annually! Now I have to continually think about putting it back in texts (mainly so as not to upset Pitlamp!), but I'm aware that cultural usage of many terms and phrases are different - as I've worked with a lot of Americans, I guess I'm more familiar.

Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2017, 06:22:18 pm »
It's in the massive posts, with examples and justifications and possible questions and answers. I haven't been able to cook the entire concept down to a few tidy lines.

Occam's Razor.
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Offline JasonC

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2017, 07:12:33 pm »
I will admit that I'm not one to go through massive posts with a fine-tooth comb, hence asking for clarification in a more concise form.

With respect, if you can't take the trouble to find out what the man is saying, how do you know you disagree with him ?

It's just a forum, if it takes someone 10 paragraphs to express what they think and it's not sufficiently interesting for you to read and digest, you do have the option of ignoring him. ;)

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2017, 07:26:26 pm »
As an (ex) scientist I've seen quite complex concepts condensed to a few short paragraphs.

If the idea is to promote discussion, then this is the best way to do it, hence my comments above. The *nuances* of the argument can be stated once the basic concept is established.

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Offline Disgusted from Cornwall.

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2017, 07:58:26 pm »
wrong topic!

Offline Amata

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #42 on: April 14, 2017, 02:25:32 am »

For instance; you use the word “resource” when referring to caves. In the UK we would more generally use the word as meaning something that has a purposeful use or value.  You appear to be using in a different context. (no one at fault in my opinion).

BAM. Thank you.

My Unterstein conservation article got HEAVILY edited WITHOUT MY PERMISSION in this month's NSS news.
One the things I was VERY upset about was changing my phrasing of "these amazing caves" to "these resources"
What. The. Fuck.

A resource is something to be *used*. What comes to mind with the word resource? Besides Minecraft. Food. Oil. Fossil fuels. Things we *use*. This is completely *anti-conservation* and this mindset of "caves are a resources" is what allows cavers to think they have "the right" to do what they will. Cross tape lines because they need a photo, for example.

I brought it to the attention of the NSS Editors, because there were many other edits as well (so far, it seems nothing will be done to rectify their massive errors). They edited everything from totally framing what we tried to do for conservation wrong, to completely changing my views on conservation and changed the tone of the entire article. I didn't even recognize my own article. It is *that* bad. Every thing was completely re-wrote.

The calling caves "resources" is exactly the issue. And the NSS - our national cave organization - just promoted it. Under my name. With words I never wrote, never said, and never thought.  :wall:

You are right - cavers in the US *DO* call caves resources. And *use* them as such. Hence, conservation problems to a much larger magnitude than you have there. I have never once heard a Brit caver call a cave a resource. But yet, it is used all the time here.

The moment we view caves as a resource, it is something to be used up, something just for us.
The moment we realize caves are part of our environment, we can realize their importance as a part of the world of which we are a part, and share our time with the cave in mutual respect.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 02:39:21 am by Amy »
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Offline Amata

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #43 on: April 14, 2017, 02:46:07 am »
If anyone cares, these are my views. And my original, unedited, article about conservation.

Unterstein: A Conservation Story

Pristine mud flowstone floors. Beauty in crazy formations. Delicate crystals. Pearls. Coming up out of that drop Troy said to us, "We have a huge conservation problem on our hands." How right he was.

We went about Unterstein the way of Blue Spring Cave, and of many British caves, creating paths where necessary to maintain as much unmarred beauty as possible. The plan was also to show people the cave before putting coordinates into the Alabama Cave Survey database, who could then take others, and let the routes for safety and conservation slowly spread.

This is a case study of how our method worked in TAG. Because the cave was virgin, looking at it within a few months of traffic (61 visitors, according to the logbook) provides an interesting look on the impact that cavers can have.

Conservation is more than just not breaking formations, not spray-painting, and not treating open air pits and sinkholes as trash dumps. It's the little things too, because the little things add up.

Within the first three months of people outside of our project group going to Unterstein, people pulled out gloves, hair ties, watches, food wrappers, and broken flash bulbs. While it is sad that trash gets left behind, this does give us good news—cavers police ourselves; we pick up after each other where something is lost or forgotten. So while it is disheartening to see trash so quickly in such a new cave, it is being taken out, so the overall trash impact is low. However, this is a good reminder to be extra observant of ourselves and other members in our cave party and keep track of items we bring into the cave.

As for formations, within the first five months, two pools of pearls are now so full of mud one cannot see them. And the pristine mud flow floor, clearly marked off by tape, was walked out across, and then back, obviously ignoring the path. Unlike bits of trash, these things cannot be fixed. They are forever damaged.

In the end, despite our best attempts, there is still accidental damage, and even blatant damage. In the release article for Unterstein we wrote that we assumed the competent vertical caver who would visit Unterstein would also be conservation minded. But all it takes is one person to walk across the pristine floors. All it takes is one person to not watch their step with muddy boots. All it takes…

All it takes is every single one of us being dutiful in our respect to these amazing environments we have the privilege of visiting in our short time on this earth, a mere microsecond in the geological time scale of these amazing caves.

We cannot conserve what we cannot preserve. We cannot preserve what we cannot protect. We cannot protect what we do not know exists. And Unterstein will be protected from the construction we mentioned in the release article, our data was well received and appropriate alterations made in the construction plans. Had we never found Unterstein, it may well have been lost to the ages of man in totality. So, we’ll strive to keep exploring, in spite of a careless handful, so that we may protect, preserve, and conserve for generations to come.
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #44 on: April 14, 2017, 04:38:39 am »
Amy, I would like to read your article carefully before I comment, so I'll save that for later. For now though, I was interested by this quote,

"The moment we view caves as a resource, it is something to be used up, something just for us.
The moment we realize caves are part of our environment, we can realize their importance as a part of the world of which we are a part, and share our time with the cave in mutual respect."

You have misunderstood Ian's post, which you quoted (he, in turn, misunderstood my use of the word resource, which I used in exactly the context he described). There is nothing particularly wrong with using the word resource, though I too am made uncomfortable by its popular implications. Caves are and contain many resources, which can be used honorably and without being used up, or even used up honorably. The problem is not that we do not see caves as part of our "environment" (another extremely problematic word) but that we do not see ourselves as part of any environment. 

That your article was heavily edited is unsurprising. My own article in the 2014 or 15 conservation issue suffered similarly, including the addition of spurious subheadings that implied meanings I did not intend. An article in last year's conservation issue, by a KY caver whose name I forget, was also significantly altered. Dave never edited anything of mine, so I wonder if this is something peculiar to the Werkers as guest editors (I assume they were, no longer being a member I haven't seen the latest copy).
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 04:47:36 am by Kenilworth »

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #45 on: April 14, 2017, 05:30:58 am »
Having thrice read your article, I have a few thoughts. Please don't take them as aggressive, they aren't. I'm simply trying to be plain and am unskilled at diplomacy.

What happened to the cave was exactly what anyone who has been caving in TAG for more than a few trips should have expected.

Quote
In the release article for Unterstein we wrote that we assumed the competent vertical caver who would visit Unterstein would also be conservation minded.

This was an absurd assumption, mistaken both in conflating vertical competence with club training and in conflating club training with a healthy conservation ethic.

You have made no comment on lessons learned regarding the efficacy of taping. Is this because you are unwilling to draw conclusions based on this single example, or because you are uncomfortable with the possible conclusions?

Quote
We cannot conserve what we cannot preserve. We cannot preserve what we cannot protect. We cannot protect what we do not know exists.

These are three terribly aimless and immature sentences. 1. We can conserve what we cannot preserve. I have today finished drinking a gallon of milk before it spoiled. 2. Preserve and protect are more or less synonymous. 3. It is true that we cannot protect what we do not know exists, but our ignorance of a cave is often the only protection it needs. Finding caves to protect would simply be bad mathematics. By all means find them, but not for make-believe reasons.

Otherwise, your article is a grammatical shambles, so some significant rewording would have been needed to make it suitable for the News. This should have been done with your permission and collaboration, but perhaps deadlines were a concern.

Offline Amata

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #46 on: April 14, 2017, 06:18:38 am »
Considering I was told I had weeks to submit updates, the editors surely had weeks to edit and check back with me.

Interesting that the conservation issue always suffers. I would be interested if there are many others unhappy with the editing to band together and bring it to the BOGs attention as Dave is supporting Vals edits. I havenot had issue with Dave in the padt and am a semiregular contributor to the News but the response and lack of accountability has me debating ever submitting again.

As to grammar I had the help of a pro editor presubmission and by daves own admission only a scentence or two needed reworked for clarity.

As for the rest of your posts I have zero desire to debate you
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Offline owd git

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #47 on: April 14, 2017, 08:33:59 am »
 :thumbsup:   :bow:
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