The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has classified an additional 206 caves, bringing to 364 the total number of caves considered part of the nation’s natural wealth, therefore requiring sustainable management and conservation. Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the classification was pursuant to Republic Act 9072, or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act, which mandates the agency to formulate, develop and implement a national program to conserve, protect and manage caves and cave resources. “Caves are non-renewable resources with unique, natural features that offer significant scientific, educational, economic and aesthetic value and form part of our historical and cultural heritage,” Paje said. “Caves can also be used for our enjoyment, but only to a certain extent. Classifying caves accordingly will thus help define which human activities are allowed within these areas so that we can preserve them in their pristine state, or improve them if necessary,” he added.