Factors affecting the property

(i) Development pressures

The nominated property is an area of high mountains whose uneven topography creates a natural limit to human use of the resources present. Most of the area is inaccessible for much of the year, from November to May, due to adverse weather conditions.

The factors which could threaten the integrity of the property can be summarised in three categories: pressure on the ecosystems; exploitation of the natural resources and non-productive uses.

Regarding pressure on the ecosystems, although the area is highly anthropic there are no specific threats: most of the ecosystems are sub-natural so they can compensate many of the variations in ecological factors. High altitudes are not normally very receptive to the introduction of any species that are not native (mainly flora but also fauna) and attempts at reintroduction are limited to species that were present in the recent past and are now part of Alpine tradition, e.g. lammergeyer or bearded vulture, ibex etc. From the point of view of atmospheric pollution, concentrations of ozone sufficient to damage plant life have recently been found at high altitudes as well.

Regarding exploitation of the natural resources there are no pressures on the nominated property due to its complexity, even though hydroelectric plants and mines are both present in the Dolomites. The water resources present in the nominated area are not used, except as drinking water from about one third of the springs, and there are no hydroelectric basins. Even the mineral deposits are intact and there is no industry. The use of the territory for agriculture, forestry and pastureland is important for the economy of the region. However, the peculiarities of the core zones of the high mountains prevent any such use. The limited and relatively highly regulated uses for farming and forestry only interest marginal parts of the buffer zones, as seen in paragraph 2.b.. In any case the presence of the typical alpine huts and summer mountain pastures and their relative infrastructures, such as forest roads, contribute significantly to the protection of the landscape in the territory, strengthening the specific image that these places have in the collective mind.

Regarding non productive uses there are some shelters, only open during the summer months, from June to September, and mountain cabins built for the safety of mountaineers. It is permissible and consonant with preservation to maintain and renovate existing, lawfully erected structures and facilities which are, however, still subject to stringent requirements for landscape protection and conservation. Potential new interventions to exploit the resources, such as additional tourist activities, are not compatible with applicable legislation or with the aims of the provincial administrations and can be ruled out for the time being.
Their use for other purposes (military, civil protection, alpine rescue) have negligi-ble effects, even if there are no specific regulations.

(ii) Environmental pressures

Climate change

Recently an important change in the weather parameters has been occurring, in the Dolomites as well, and an equally important variation in the ecological and environmental systems. According to the report on the conditions of the Earth published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2001), an increase of around 0.6°C in average temperature of the planet occurred during the past century. This has caused a general melting of the glaciers. This phenomena has occurred in the Dolomites as well, seen mainly with the retreat of the glaciers (Cagnati et al. 2001), and in a less visible manner, with the increase of the altitude of permafrost (Haubner, 2002). According to CIPRA (2001) the changes in climate are also affecting the snowfall, with a reduction from 4 to 6 weeks of the duration of snow cover in the valley floors and rising of the winter snow limit altitude. Fazzini and Gaddo (2003) state that in some areas of Trentino, an increase of around 200 m in the snow level has been recorded and a significant reduction on the quantity of snowfall both in the valleys and at high altitudes. At the end of the last century of the 74 glaciers recorded in the Dolomites at the beginning of the 1900s, 7 had disappeared (extinct). Another 7 sites were occupied by masses of ice with an extension less than 1 hectare and completely covered by rubble; thus they can be defined as “fossil”, that is “almost extinct” glaciers (Cagnati, 2004). The remaining glaciers are progressively retreating both in terms of area and mass. The overall area of permanent glaciers in the Dolomites currently amounts to slightly under 700 hectares (6.95 km2). Of these around half is covered with much rubble and thus it is difficult to measure with ground survey. The growing amount of rubble from slopes and canyons is in itself a consequence of the reduction of the glacier masses, but it is also the result of the reduced capacity of the glacier to absorb the rubble through the deposit of snow and its subsequent transformation into ice. This tendency to become buried is an effective indicator of the future destiny of the small glacial appendages of the Dolomites. Thanks to the covering, frontal retreat is slowed, which consequently seems very limited. Only part of the remaining glaciers are subject to official measurements by the Italian Glaciological Committee and an increasing number can no longer be measured due to the growing rubble coverage of the fronts. However, this phenomenon is not consistent. The long retreat phase begun around a century ago on the Dolomites witnessed a temporary inversion of the trend at the end of the 1980s, demonstrated by an advance of around 25 m of the front of the Marmolada glacier, the largest of the region. The deglaciation of the Dolomites seems to be due to a change in the quantity of snowfall as well as an increase in temperatures. In the past twenty years mainly summer rains have increased, while the total height of fresh snow from the ground has significantly reduced during the same period. The thermal changes do not follow the same trend in all the Dolomites. For example the summer changes recorded at Arabba are progressively decreasing, but the average annual value remains basically stable. The stations of the passes of Rolle and Mendola, Cortina and S. Martino instead, starting in 1980, have recorded a net increase of around 1 °C in average annual values and similar variation in average summer values. The effects can be measured on the largest glacier in the Dolomites, the Marmolada. During the period from 1910-1999 (90 years) its area decreased by 48%; 26% of this was between 1910 and 1980. In 2001 a slight increase was recorded due to the abundant snowfall that winter.Marmolada at 1880Marmolada at 1880

Area measured in
1910 (Marinelli measurement)

968 ha

Area measured in
1960 (Italian Glacier Registry)

772 ha

Area measured in
1980 (W.G.I.)

719 ha

Area measured in
1999 (ARPAV)

544 ha

Change in
1910-1980

- 25.7 %

Change in
1980-1991

- 24.3 %

Total change in
1910-1999

- 43.7 %

(excerpt from A. Cagnati, 2004).

 

The frontal retreat from 1923 to 2000 was around 380 m, despite the slight advance recorded at the end of the 1970s. During the 1990s the reduction of snowfall accumulation compared to the average in the 1960-1989 thirty-year period was 30%. Data in the accumulation of snowfall also provide a good explanation for the related progress phase of the glaciers recorded during the decade 1970-1980. Analysis of the distribution of snowfall show that the months with the highest deficiency are February (-60%), May (-60%) and March (-40%), the months during which the spring snow cover forms which protects the glacier from excessive ablation during the summer months. The recent history of snow climatology on the southeastern Alps shows that, even in a situation of global changes which have produced a long period of winter dryness unlike anything that has occurred since instrument data on snow parameters has been available and which are certainly not rosy, particularly snowy winters are still to be expected like the 2003/2004 one. However, the snowfall balance will continue to be negative and the current phase of retreat will not undergo an inversion if a consistent series of snowy winters and cool, dry summers with little ablation do not occur. This trend does not allow for much hope. However, the Dolomite area is involved in a series of “weather anomalies” seen by the increase in the frequency of unusual events, especially evident in the 1980s and 1990s and the first years of this third millennium.

(iii) Natural disasters and risk preparedness (earthquakes, flooding, fire, etc.)

The factors that may in some way invalidate or pose a threat to the property are not easy to identify, since for natural properties, as in this case; moreover because very little can be done about the effects of certain natural phenomena (e.g. seismic phenomena) and/or these are an integral part of the evolutionary history of the property itself (e.g. landslides).

Seismic Phenomena

The active tectonic lines in the area mean that the Dolomite area is still seismic today, as can clearly be seen in the map that shows the distribution of epicenters of recent earthquakes The Dolomites in Friuli and the Sinistra Piave (left Piave bank) are shown to be particularly active. This area is part of the western edge of the Friuli seismogenic system and is subject to widespread, frequent earthquakes with a magnitude of < 3. Occasionally, stronger earthquakes have been recorded at the edges of this system (8th October 1986, M = 3,1). Historically, significant epicentres have been located in this area (intensity on the Mercalli Scale > VII), such as that in the area south of Claut, in Val Tramontina, and in the area north of Forni di Sopra. Following the earthquake in 1976 (the epicenter of which was in the area of the Andreis, Frisanco, and Tramonti municipalities), the prediction charts, drawn up for a recurrence period of 1000 years, indicate a maximum expected intensity of 8 MCS (see the historical earthquakes map annexed). Other nominated properties have suffered seismic episodes. Some of the most recent include:

– Pelmo-Nuvolau: Selva di Cadore, 26th November 1998, magnitude 3, depth 12,3 km. Selva di Cadore, 26th November 1998, magnitude 3.2, depth 11,6 km.

– Marmolada: Marmolada, 29th June 2000, magnitude 2.5, depth 10,7 km.

Hydro-Geological Risk

Some instruments are however already in place in the area to protect the mountain district against hydro-geological disruption:

-The Hydro-geological Settlement Plan of the Isonzo, Tagliamento, Piave and Brenta-Bacchiglione river basins (known as PAI– Piano per l’Assetto Idrogeologico).

– Inventory of Italian Landslide Phenomena (IFFI - Inventario dei Fenomeni Franosi Italiani).

– The Avalanche Risk Localisation Map (CLPV - Carta di Localizzazione del Pericolo da Valanga).

The PAI was drawn up according to art 1, 1st comma, of Law 267/98 and Law 365/2000. It represents the acceptance of the know-how on hydrological and geological safety acquired by the Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto Regional Authorities, in terms of identifying danger areas. It deals with the identification and delimitation of areas in which there is a geological or hydrological or avalanche risk, and includes suitable indications as to preliminary planning and the type of work to be done to limit the danger. Currently, the Plan provides for definition of the boundaries of areas subject to hydrological risk only in the mid to low Taglia-mento basin, while delimitation of the mountain areas is in progress. In addition, the PAI includes all of the areas identified by the Mountain Settlement and Maintenance Department in the Avalanche Risk Localisation Map (CLPV). The entire Dolomite area has also been surveyed as part of the IFFI Project (Inventory of Italian Landslide Phenomena). This Project, financed with funds from the Ministries’ Committee for Land Protection according to Law 183/89, was run in collaboration with the Regional Administrations and Autonomous Provincial Authorities, and is intended to make up for the lack of homogenous, shared data on the distribution of landslide phenomena within the Country. This inventory includes all landslide phenomena, excepting those already delimited in the PAI. The IFFI Project provides a definite, up to date picture of collapse phenomena that have occurred anywhere in the Country, by revising and homogenising the data already available, and integrating it for areas that have only been surveyed to a limited extent. This also led to the creation of a National Information System made up of a computerized map at a 1:25,000 scale, along with the related alphanumeric and iconographic database, containing all survey data on landslides in Italy. It therefore provides a cognitive contribution within the wider field of the instruments required for territorial planning on a national scale, and a qualitative, quantitative, and typological assessment of the landslide risk. A “UTM ED 50 zone 32” cartographic projection was used for the project. Each landslide is unequivocally identified for the entire country by means of a “Landslide ID” code, which provides the link between the Landslide Card (alphanumeric database) and the PIFF [Landslide Phenomenon Identification Point] (cartographic database). All data is available both in hardcopy and in GIS-based format. Despite proving in some cases to be catastrophic for the local populations and for anthropic works in general, not all of these phenomena can be considered a real threat to the natural Property in question. In some cases these can upset the surface (e.g. barrier lakes) as well as the underground hydrography, or, when of more extensive size, they can completely upset the morphology of entire slopes(e.g. the Vajont landslide). In some cases nature can involuntarily deprive us of beautiful views like that of the 5 Torri and of Cima Una/Einser that stand out against the orange Dolomite sky. But the collapse of the Trephor Tower in 2004 and of Cima /Una in 2007, that attracted so much attention and surprise, will be followed in the future with the collapse of the other towers as well, and we can only resign to this inauspicious destiny. Both the seismic phenomena and the erosion ones, caused by ice and water, are natural, and as such are an integral part of the system. Morphogenetic effects in general cannot be stopped. We should not forget that these same forces “sculptured” the Dolomites, and have been hard at work over millions of years modeling this stunning landscape.

Mountain cabin GoitanMountain cabin Goitan

(iv) visitor/tourism pressures

The Dolomites are known for their receptivity to tourism, only comparable to the Swiss Alps, and the main resorts, Cortina, Sesto/Sexten and Madonna di Campiglio, are world famous. The main backup infrastructures for heavy tourism are all outside the nominated area and the buffer zones. In spite of the fact that the valleys exert a wide attraction on tourists which brings millions of people every year, the natural conditions of the nominated site heavily restrict the number of visitors. In fact, in spite of this mountain environment being particularly appreciated by tourists and holiday makers, most of them limit their excursions around the populated areas, or use the downhill skiing facilities. There is naturally a big difference between summer and winter, considering that during the winter season access for walkers to high altitudes is virtually impossible, but it is estimated that less than 5% of tourists visit the high mountains (above 1600/1800 metres). So it is possible to confirm that visitors to the Dolomites are exclusively hikers, visitors who love the mountains and are prepared to embark on long, strenuous walks. Mass tourism is excluded. However, overcrowding can happen, but the greatest density of visitors is concen-trated in specific spots generally organised to cope. These localities, mostly out-side the nominated area and their buffer zones, represent the “classic” viewpoints from which the first travellers in the XIXth century saw “the Dolomite mountains”, immortalising in drawings or watercolours what are now world famous views. A reduction of localised pressure will be an objective for sustainable management.

Within the core and buffer zones the only infrastructures generating any pressure
are:

-the network of footpaths

-shelters (65) and mountain cabins (33)

-the ropeway (2)

The Network Of Footpaths

Generally the seasonal weather conditions drastically reduce the flux of people towards high altitudes. Also the mountainous characteristics of the footpaths in the nominated property limit transit to high altitude hikers. Access to most of the summits is restricted during the summer to mountaineers with specific prepara-tion and rock climbers with special equipment.
The footpaths follow old tracks, many of them dating from before the XIXth century for transalpine commercial trade (see par. 2.b), clearly shown in place names (i.e. Passo Principe/ in mountain group Catinaccio/Rosengarten). During the period of great mountaineering and excursionist expansion, between 1880 and 1930, the footpath network was definitely fixed and looked after by various alpine clubs(Italian, Austrian and German), as were the shelters. The footpath network was extended and strengthened, also by the construction of military roads during the First World War which are still used to supply many structures. Nowadays the footpaths are precisely mapped and each registered with its own identification number; so they are constantly monitored and kept under control. This attention guarantees the efficiency of the network regarding safety and con-trol of visitors and avoids any misuse. The existing network responds perfectly to present requirements so no further extension is necessary.

Shelters And Mountain Cabins

The shelters arose from the necessity to offer logistic bases to hikers, mountain-eers and climbers who came to the Dolomites more and more assiduously from 1865-70. They were built by the European Alpine clubs (DÖAV Deutscher und Österreichischer Alpen Verein) or local clubs (SAT Società Alpinisti Tridentini).Twenty were constructed between 1882 and 1918, all in core zones, while be-tween the World Wars a dozen were built, some of them using old military posts, and the remaining ones were built before 1970. Since then there have been no more built, although obviously the original structures have been frequently re-stored and maintained, because of difficult natural environmental conditions and growing interest in the Dolomites. They have always had a vital rôle in alpine rescue. The type of hospitality offered is very Spartan with bedrooms (from 2 to 8 beds) and dormitories (up to 30 beds), nothing like hotel accommodation. The opening period, with few exceptions, is limited to the summer months (April to September) and the sleeping spaces in the shelters generate some 60.000 overnight stays; i.e. 25% of the potential accomodation capacity (some 254.000). The upward trend continues, but no further shelters are planned.

Now 62% of the shelters is the property of alpine societies and the remaining 38% is private. The regulations for landscape and environmental protection prevent any sort of misuse and guarantee correct management both within and without the protected areas. Disposal of faecal matter and rubbish is a problem at some of the most-frequented shelters; this is less an ecological problem than an aesthetic one, but high altitudes and associated low temperatures make it difficult to solve. Technical solutions are being studied.

Mountain cabins, mainly built between 1960 and 1980, offer logistic support and a guarantee of safety for expert hikers; for this reason they are open all year round. The 33 mountain cabins offer a considerable number of beds (291 which is equal to 10% of the total available), but the use of camp beds excludes the typical tourist. In fact they are all built and maintained by the national alpine association (CAI Club Alpino Italiano) or provincial associations (AVS Alpenverein Südtirol, SAT Società Alpinisti Tridentini).

The Ropeways

The facilities within the nominated property are two ropeways. The Tofane cableway records some 149.000 transits (91% in winter, 9% in summer). Regarding the Marmolada cableway, which climbs as far as Punta Rocca with some 108.000 transits (70% in winter, 30% in summer), current regulations only allow for technological adjustments. There are no other facilities within the nominated site to transport tourists (i.e. high-altitude landing strips, roads or car parks, etc.), nor are there areas for downhill skiing, also the law forbids any inappropriate sports such as heliskiing.

(v) Number of inhabitants within the property and the buffer zone

The population of 15 people, residing within the borders of the core zones, is occupied in the management of shelters and buildings used for livestock farming. The number of inhabitants in the buffer zones is negligible in relation to the vastness of the nominated property and is certainly not influential on the structure and functions of the Dolomite systems.

 

 

New layer...
New layer...
 
population * - 2005
systems mountain groups
province
core zone
buffer zone
1. Pelmo - Croda da Lago Pelmo
BL
0
0
Croda da Lago
BL
0
0
2. Marmolada Marmolada
BL-TN
0
0
3. Pale di San Martino - San Lucano - Dolomiti Bellunesi Civetta-Moiazza
BL-TN
0
2
Pale di San Martino
0
17
Pale di San Lucano
0
0
Dolomiti Bellunesi
0
88
Vette Feltrine
0
0
4. Dolomiti Friulane / Dolomits Furlanis e d'Oltre Piave Dolomiti Friulane / Dolomits Furlanis
BL-PN-UD
0
18
Dolomiti d'Oltre Piave
0
0
5. Dolomiti Settentrionali / Nördliche Dolomiten Cadini
BL-BZ
0
0
Dolomiti di Sesto/Sextner Dolomiten
0
8
Dolomiti di Ampezzo/Ampezzaner Dolomiten
0
0
Fanes
15
0
Dolomiti di Senes/Sennes Dolomiten
0
0
Dolomiti di Braies/Prags Dolomiten
0
0
Dolomiti Cadorine
0
1
Sett Sass
0
20
6. Puez-Odle / Puez-Geisler / Pöz-Odles Puez / Puez / Pöz
BZ
0
0
Odle / Geisler / Odles
0
0
7. Sciliar-Catinaccio / Schlern-Rosengarten - Latemar Sciliar / Schlern
BZ-TN
0
0
Catinaccio / Rosengarten / Ciadinac
0
0
Latemar
0
0
8. Rio delle Foglie / Bletterbach Rio delle Foglie / Bletterbach
BZ
0
0
9. Dolomiti di Brenta Dolomiti di Brenta
TN
0
0