Integrity and/or Authenticity
The nominated property is a predominantly wild, inhospitable, high mountain landscape. The borders of the core zones and buffer zones follow the topography and geomorphology of the landforms and the remarkable natural characteristics of the ground. The integrity of the property is assured in conformation with criterion vii since these identified areas:
-emphasise the superlative natural phenomena of the Dolomite region;
-contain all the most significant areas of natural beauty of the Dolomites;
-represent all the typical landforms considered to be of aesthetic importance.
Relative to the scenic values, the series of landscape units in particular (grasslands above the tree-line, scree cones, rock faces, snowfields, peaks) is completely represented in all the systems of the nominated property.
The series of nine core zones is extensive enough to ensure a complete representation of the aesthetic and landscape qualities which contribute to the exceptional natural beauty of the mountain range. Moreover, the size of the buffer zones guarantees the integrity of the views of single mountain groups (from the grasslands to the summits) and protects the nominated property from the effects of any human activity incompatible with their outstanding universal values.
The aesthetic integrity excludes valley bottoms from the most significant views since the universally recognised image of the Dolomites coincides with the integral vision of the mountain groups from top to bottom. This is an historically proven fact, confirmed in art and literature. Given the characteristic topography of the region, an integral vision is only possible from high altitudes and determined positions: near the mountain ranges, usually far from inhabited valleys. In fact in the valleys and villages a complete vision of the ranges is rendered impossible by the slopes themselves. The recent tourist economy, strongly present in the valleys since 1960, does not influence the aesthetic integrity of the nominated property.Given the high altitudes of the nominated property, the principal non-traditional human activities are hiking and mountaineering. From 1850 the growth of these activities has involved the creation of shelters and camps which have contributed to the diffusion of scientific and aesthetic knowledge of the Dolomites as well as guaranteeing the protection and safety of visitors. During the First World War the existing network of paths was reinforced by the construction of many military roads. This universally significant war led to the construction of many earthworks, even at the highest altitudes, which constitute an exceptional historic testimony to the terrible, bloody frontier battle involving much of the Dolomites. Their presence adds the universal values of peace and brotherhood between populations to the exceptional natural qualities of the nominated property.
There have been no significant changes to the natural processes and eco-systems. The core areas contain a habitat of high naturalistic interest even though these are relatively common in the whole alpine range. The mouflon and the rainbow trout are amongst the very few animal species that have been introduced into the area of the Dolomites in the mid-twentieth century but their presence has not affected the equilibrium and has not threatened endemic species. The woodlands, mostly in buffer zones, are in semi-natural conditions since many of them are protected by existing parks. The rest of the forests are in particularly impervious or impassable areas where forest management is limited to phytosanitary control. The grasslands have never been used for grazing or hay-making, apart from the distant past and in times of great need, due to their very low economic value. The pastures are marginal areas in the buffer zones of some of the systems and in any case grazing and hay-making are amongst the traditional, ecologically sustainable activities of local communities. These human interventions help to maintain high biodiversity and a rich flora in the eco-tonal areas and consequently preserve the historic landscape and scenic values.
With regard to the integral nature of the geological, geomorphologic, litho-mineralogical and paleontological systems in the Dolomites, opinion can only be in favor of total invulnerability, or total integrity. In the past, however, episodes of collection of important fossils and minerals were reported, even beyond the acceptable limits for purposes of scientific collection, but these were swiftly halted by new laws and regulations to that purpose, and by their effective application and careful supervision of the territory. Many important public collections or collections that are accessible not only to researchers but to the general public, are of world-wide fame today, and are available for purposes of study and research also thanks to past collecting activities. The geological integrity of the Dolomites should be expressed, however, also at a larger scale, when considering the complete preservation of “fossilized” atolls. The presence and the exposure of all the environments forming an ancient carbonate platform invaluably and exceptionally testify the paleo-ecological integrity of this otherwise lost part of the geological history of the Earth. It must also be mentioned that all the Dolomite systems, in as much as expressions that represent a fully intact natural environment, must be considered as authentic in their intimate ecological structure, as also in their relationships within the ecosystem, i.e. regarding the physical-biological aspect, by which every one of their components is indissolubly linked. For this reason, a natural system stands and remains stable over time thanks to its endogenous mechanisms of homeostasis, and certainly not for the cultural intervention of man. Also in this sense, the Dolomite systems, which are to say of the Dolomites asset in its entirety, can be declared with absolute certainty as authentic. From geomorphological point of view, the geomorphological processes and the derived landforms displayed in the nine systems are a wide and exemplary range of morphostructural and morphoclimatic phenomena that can be considered as a high-altitude field laboratory from research and education. Therefore all the systems are integrated trough the collation of the most significant phenomena occurring in of each one of them.