NATIONAL PARK OF CALABRIA
With law n. 503 of 2 April 1968 the National Park of Calabria was born, whose establishment was proposed for the first time in 1923.The park was born on publicly owned land of the forest property and its management had been entrusted to the State Agency for State Forests.
The Calabria Park from 2002 has formally ceased to exist as it was incorporated in Sila National Park.
Its territory was mainly made up of forests and was divided into three distinct and distant entities: the Sila Grande, the Sila Piccola and the Aspromonte. Expanded in 1985, its current surface was 15,894 hectares, of which 1000 hectares are a nature reserve.
As it was written in art. of the law 2 April 1968, n. 503, with which the national park of Calabria was established, the purpose of the park was the conservation of the environmental characteristics, the education and recreation of the citizens. The national park of Calabria consisted mainly of the land of the former State Company for State Forests (which was entrusted with the administration of the park), it extended in each of the three provinces Calabria was then divided  by about 12 000 hectares.
The park included (art.2 of law 503/68):
The park area increased to about 16,000 hectares in 1985  of which 7,000 in the province of Cosenza ("Sila Grande"), 6 000 in the province of Catanzaro ("Sila Piccola") and 3000 in the province of Reggio ( "Aspromonte"). In 1989 the southernmost territory of the national park of Calabria was detached to form the Aspromonte national park. The remaining territory, in fact the Sila Grande and Piccola, with DPR of November 14, 2002, which came into force on March 17, 2003, will become part of the Sila National Park.
Originally, the Calabria National Park it was founded in 1968 to protect the territories of Sila Grande, Sila piccola and Aspromonte. This area possesses an indescribable number of natural reserves to be protected and for which, starting from the 1990s, a separate management was considered. They were born like this on Sila National Park, in the provinces of Crotone, Catanzaro and Cosenza and the Aspromonte National Park, in the province of Reggio Calabria.
The Aspromonte National Park is located in the province of Reggio Calabria and takes its name from the massif of the same name. One of the main characteristics of the Park is the steepness of the difference in height: in a few kilometers you pass from the 1955 meters of altitude of Montalto to sea level, the environment is characterized by numerous high-altitude streams which, before turning into powerful rivers, give rise to steep overhanging waterfalls, such as those of Forgiarelle and Maesano.
For lovers of outdoor sports, the Aspromonte National Park is full of itineraries immersed in unspoiled nature, to discover and appreciate the beauty of still unspoiled nature. Hiking, rock climbing, canyoning and cross-country skiing are practiced in the park.
For more information, visit the official website of the Aspromonte National Park.
[photo by Aurelio Candido - some rights reserved]
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The sole responsibility for the content of each Tentative List lies with the State Party concerned. The publication of the Tentative Lists does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the World Heritage Committee or of the World Heritage Center or of the Secretariat of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.
Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party
Nominated property (73,695 ha) comprises "zone a", i.e. the integral reserves of Sila National Park. Park is located in the Sila, a vast plateau with a rectangular shape emerged about 7 million years ago located in the central region of Calabria (South Italy). Its natural landscape is mainly mountainous and forest with extensive plateau from 1200 to 1500 m. high and several mountains over 1600 m. Mount Botte Donato, the highest peak reaches 1929 m.
"The Sila Massif consists of different Hercynian metamorphic and plutonic rock (Sila Unit), composed of medium-high, medium-low and low metamorphic grade, and intruded by Late Hercynian plutonites (Sila Batholith). Gneissic and plutonic rocks are deeply weathered, and exfoliation boulders are typical and widespread. "
The rocks presently exposed in N Calabria and especially Sila have been deposited and / or emplaced in (1) a Jurassic to Cretaceous ocean (known as the Ligurian-Piedmont palaeo-ocean) extending southeastward to (2) a Mesozoic to Miocene deep pelagic basin on attenuated crust (the Sicilian to Lagonegro palaeo-basin) in turn passing to (3) a late Palaeozoic to Present deep basin on oceanic crust (the Ionian basin). (1) and part of (2) have been involved in the Alpine orogeny at the end of Cretaceous (thus becoming part of the Alps). The remaining part of (2) and (3) have not, allowing for Neogene drift of the Calabria terranes from Sardinia and Spain to the Southern Apennines
The property is dominated by a very important forest in terms of biodiversity and forest ecological conservation. Proposed boundaries include a rich variety of eco-region endemism, namely plant and insect, and the site is included in the Centers of plant diversity (WWF-IUCN) in the Mediterranean basin (Apennines and the Apuan Alps), being recognized as the only one plant diversity hotspot area in southern Europe, and among priority regions according to Global 200 Eco-regions by WWF (European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests). It also include and represents a unique geological setting where the Apennine chain is superseded by the Alps.
The Sila National Park property is dominated by a wide forest belonging to the South Apennine mixed mountain forests eco-region. The property enjoys a special geological asset providing spectacular exposure with all their nappes of different ages and environment (from oceanic to continental granulitic lower crust) which are accreted on top of the Apennine chain buried under Sila and outcropping to the north. East and west, such a strange double chain is facing the oldest known (Permian) oceanic lithosphere in the Ionian Sea and one of the youngest oceans of the world in the Tyrrhenian Sea. This is a really unique coincidence of extreme plate tectonic processes.
Sila forest ecosystem has an important biodiversity and ecological significance related to its complicated geological, climatic evolution and age-old human action that has affected the territory amid Mediterranean region. Larger habitats in the Park are Mediterranean mountainous coniferous forests and Mediterranean deciduous forests marked by the uniqueness provided by the largest pine forest of Pinus laricio subsp. calabrica (endemic black pine subspecies) worldwide. Indeed, laricio pine forest covers a total of 33,400 hectares of territory. The Sila National Park has almost the entire population of laricio pine existing worldwide (more than 90%) and centuries old trees, playing a major vital role for the conservation of this unique forest ecosystem at the global scale. In the property it is still possible to find very old individuals of laricio pine, natural monuments of about 600 years old.
The property supports many other habitats of interest, including habitats of the typical central European temperate zone, which are of high value for their relictual aspect. Due to these features and its bio-geographical position within the amid Mediterranean basin, the Sila National Park is a rich reservoir of biodiversity and endemism with many species of conservation interest, including a rich variety of eco-region endemism, namely plant and insect. In fact the property is included in the Centers of plant diversity (WWF-IUCN) in the Mediterranean basin (Apennines and Apuan Alps) the only one plant diversity hotspot area in southern Europe, and among the priority regions according to Global 200 Eco-regions by WWF (European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests).
Moreover, the area represents for at least 18 vertebrate species an outstanding genetic hotspot due to past isolation. These genetic hotspots have been recently shown as areas whose conservation must receive maximum priority (Hampe & Petit 2005 Weiss & Ferrand 2006).
(viii): The Sila mountain plateau forms the northern part of Calabria which is placed on the leading SE tip of the Apennines, a mountain chain constricted between the jaws of the moving macroplates of Eurasia and Africa. Geologically speaking, Calabria is a terrane comprised of some subterranes, the largest of which is Sila. What makes the Calabria and Sila terranes unique is a series of special circumstances making them of outstanding universal value
(ix): The Sila National Park supports the ecological processes of a wide mature forest in the South Apennine mixed montane forests, and almost the entire population of Pinus laricio subsp. calabrica (endemic black pine subspecies) world-wide existing. The endemic laricio pine forest is related to the complicated geological history and the current climatic and lithological characteristics of this area, and provides a unique example of forest ecosystem in the Mediterranean region. The property hosts a lot of other habitats of interest, including typical habitats of the central European temperate zone, which are very relevant for there relictual aspect. The forests and habitats of the whole Sila support an outstanding amount of biodiversity and endemic species.
(x): Sila National Park contains the most significant natural habitats of mature forest for the conservation of biological diversity in the Mediterranean basin, as well as important bio-geographic and ecological aspects. The property ranks among the priority regions for the Global 200 Eco-regions and has been selected as Centers of plant diversity - Apennines and the Apuan Alps -. Sila National Park is a crucial area for the conservation of the entire population of endemic laricio pine (Pinus laricio subsp. Calabrica) worldwide existing. The Sila peculiar forest ecosystem supports habitats and outstanding Mediterranean basin species richness at the global scale including threatened species.
The property hosts 946 vascular taxa, The property hosts 946 vascular plant taxa, 190 vertebrate, 2.632 known arthropods, more than 15.000 estimated, with a lot of endemism, namely plants and arthropods 180 vertebrates, 31 of which enclosed in the "Habitat" Directive , and more than 3000 invertebrates (more than 12,000 estimated), 9 of which in the Habitat D., with several local and regional endemics, and the best conserved saproxylic fauna of the Mediterranean mountains. Moreover, the area represents for at least 18 vertebrate species, mainly amphibians, an outstanding genetic hotspot due to past isolation, for the mole Talpa romana the calabrian populations show the highest genetic variabliity so far found in a mammal species in the world.
Nominated property falls within the more protected area of National Park marked as “zona a” and its total extension of 73.695 ha includes almost world-wide existing population of Pinus laricio subsp. calabrica (subspecies endemic black pine) providing a comprehensive and unique example of forest ecosystem in Mediterranean region and recording ecological process of the South Apennine mixed mountain forests able to support an outstanding amount of biodiversity and endemic species, especially vascular plants and arthropods.
Considered by WWF as a priority areas for biodiversity conservation of eco-region of the central Mediterranean, proposed boundaries include the hotspot inserted in 234 Centers of Plant Diversity selected worldwide by IUCN and WWF, and it contains 25 Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and 3 Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) within European Natura 2000, as well as 9 natural State reserves and 1 natural oasis.
As above mentioned, the entire territory is managed by a public body named “Ente Parco” financially supported by Ministry for Environment and whose structure and constraints are directly ruled by Italian framework law on protected areas n. 394/1991, as well as by Park Code. Community of the Park - one of "Ente Parco" internal organs - plays a major consultative role as it’s composed by any local competent Authority and its decisions concerning park’s instruments of management are legally binding. Park Code, Park Plan, Social and Economic Promotion Plan - required by articles 11, 12 and 14 of law 394/1991 - are in their way on to be adopted however Sila National Park is almost untouched by human activities and the proposed "zone a "- integral reserves - represents an uncontaminated space completely intact, without traces of infrastructures.
The Sila property is geologically unique in the world in the sense that no other region exhibiting all the features emphasized above was described so far. Areas presenting one or more of the Sila geological features (such as lower crustal sections and / or oceanic rock types) are found along the American Cordillera and the Karakorum-Himalayan regions, but are rarely available for an easy reading. There are several forests sites in the World Heritage List. The Sila National Park has been particularly compared with properties biogeographically close to the candidate site: Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia), Durmitor National Park (Montenegro), Gulf of Porto: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve (France). Sila National Park site belongs to a different eco-region - South Apennine mixed montane forests - and it is much more extended than other properties.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is known for its outstanding ecosistemic values concerning floristic aspects, presents a greater botanical biodiversity but also forest habitats less extended with a smaller number of endemic species, namely 72 over 81 living in the Sila National Park. The Croatian property has an ecosystem linked to carsick elements and the hydrological regimen and, therefore, basically different from the Sila environment. The faunistic biodiversity as for vertebrates is generally comparable except for invertebrates biodiversity which is bigger in the Sila National Park.
Durmitor National Park, of outstanding value for conservation issues, hosts coniferous and broad-lived forests extending 17,000 ha, which are dominated by the Scots pine, spruce fir, silver fir and beech trees. Furthermore, a 40 ha extending centenary age wood is known as the last virgin black pine forest. The Sila National Park protects 34,400 ha of forest ecosystem, considering only the endemic laricio pine forests. The Montenegrin property has been recognized as one of the richest endemism centers in Europe for its 700 species of plants, of which 37 endemic. The nominated property hosts more than 1/3 botanical species with more than the double number of endemism compared with the Durmitor National Park.
The Gulf of Porto: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve is a very less extended property. Its naturalistic values have been recognized for the biodiversity conservation referring to the maquis Mediterranean vegetation, namely marine birds, birds of prey, the rich algal flora and the marine fauna. Therefore, the property has to be considered for its coastal and marine ecosystems as well as for the habitats and species which differ from those ones existing in the nominated property.
In conclusion, the said comparison has shown that the Sila National Park:
- protects a very much extended territory
- contains a unique association of spectacular and scientifically important uncommon geological assets like unique coincidence of extreme plate tectonic processes
- includes forest ecosystems which are much more extended and of a different eco-region, namely the South Apennine mixed mountain forest
- hosts the almost entire population of Pinus laricio subsp. calabrica (endemic subspecies black pine) worldwide existing, with centuries old trees, protecting, therefore, the associated forest ecosystem
- presents a higher number of comparable endemisms
- its whole biodiversity is greater or comparable with reference to other properties.
Are you ready for an adventurous journey through woods, rivers and wild nature? It is not necessary to leave the national borders to undertake such a journey, but it is enough to go to Calabria, a region notable not only for the splendid sea that embraces it but also for its own natural parks that outline a varied landscape.
Unspoiled nature and endless possibilities for new experiences are the cornerstones of the National Parks of Calabria. Below four National Parks of the Calabria.
Established in 1993, the Pollino National Park represents the largest newly established protected area in Italy. The peculiarity of this park are the Pollino and Orsomarso massifs, a mountain range of the southern Apennines that marks the border between Basilicata and Calabria.
Here you can find some of the highest peaks in the Italian South (over 2200 meters above sea level) which, for most of the year, are covered with snow. From the highest peaks you can see an unparalleled panorama: to the east the Ionian coast from Sibari to Metaponto and to the west the Tyrrhenian coasts of Maratea, Praia a Mare, Belvedere Marittimo.
The Aspromonte National Park takes its name from the Aspromonte Massif, a mountain massif that is part of the named complex Southern Alps or Calabrian Alps.
The park is a center of great interest for flora and fauna, characterized by a marked heterogeneity that conquers its visitors. Beech forests, spectacular pine forests, chestnut trees and a varied mammal fauna ranging from beautiful birds of prey to mammals such as wolves, foxes, stone martens and many more.
After the Pollino Park and the Aspromonte Park, the Sila National Park it is the third, in chronological order, to have been founded in Calabria.
This magnificent park holds one of the most significant biodiversity systems. Not to mention a marked variety of landscapes ranging from the mountain type to the hilly one up to the flat one.
The Serre Regional Park it is characterized, as regards the geomorphological aspect, by natural forms that give life to highly recognizable landscapes.
Slopes and reliefs covered by vast woods, such as the Mediterranean scrub (present at low altitudes), chestnut groves (which represent the highest areas of the park) and, finally, the beech and fir trees, which characterize the major reliefs of the park.
Sila National Park (Italian: Parco Nazionale della Sila) was established in 1997 and covers about 74,000 ha in Calabria. Its highest mountains are Mt. Botte Donato (1,928m), in Sila Grande, and Mt. Gariglione (1,764m) in Sila Piccola. The park is set with the Regional Decree 14.11.2002 from the Official Journal num. 63 - 17/03/2003 and includes its own Management Agency founded. This park area includes the territories formerly as part of the “Historical” Calabria National Park (1968), which protects areas of great environmental interest in Sila Piccola, Sila Grande and Sila Greca, for a total of 736.95 square kilometers, in 21 municipalities, 6 Mountains Communities and 3 provinces of Calabria Region.
In the center of Calabria sits Sila National Park. It offers visitors a fascinating place, full of beautiful routes and exciting landscapes, mountains and enchanted valleys. There are spectacular plants and a wide variety of animals that roam about. The park preserves one of the most significant biodiverse and scenic natural wonders, truly deserving the utmost of protection. The park's symbol is the wolf, a hunted species for centuries that has withstood its survival until 1970, when a law in favor of its preservation was established. Sila National Park offers magnificent sceneries of history that changes with the seasons. This park is full of a magical atmosphere, wondrous contrasts and harmonious arrangements of colors and shades.
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