The Convention for Protecting the World Heritage is the most popular challenge in terms of international visibility and local favourable impact. The Unesco World Heritage List sums up a total of 936 sites, as of August 2011, among which 725 are cultural, 183 natural, and 28 mixed, based on cultural (criteria I to VI) and natural criteria (VII to X) in 153 out of 183 Member States having ratified the 1972 Convention. Acceptance and registration into the List of Goods concerning the World Heritage is a long process of selection for the high value of the criteria recognized (which have to be unique not only at national level but also at global scale), the severe integrity condition required in the Operational Guidelines, and the rigorous managing models needed to assure due protection. Inclusion of a site in the Unesco List is focussed in the definition of “outstanding universal value” (OUV) of the site through ten criteria, among which the Sila National Park has deemed to highlight also criterion VIII which says: be outstanding examples representing major stages of Earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features. As a matter of fact, the nominated property Sila National Park (73.695 ha) is located in the Sila, a vast rectangular shaped plateau, 1200 to 1500 m in elevation, punctuated by several mountains up to 1929 m in the northern part of Calabria (South Italy), geologically including a variety of metamorphic, plutonic and sedimentary rocks spanning from early Paleozoic to Quaternary and representing a unique geological archive, highlights the uniqueness concept proclaimed by the Operational Guidelines. In detail, 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. The geology of the Calabria Region, expressed by rocks, mountains and landforms is milestone for reading a long history of events occurred within the Mediterranean Region. The geological archive within the Calabrian Mountain Ranges includes a long history of about 500 My, and Calabrian rocks and landforms represent a innovative laboratory at every scale of learning the archive of planet and to know the geological heritage of a region. In this frame, the Sila Mountains and their “terranes” consitute a key geological fragment within the Mediterranean Region. A terrane is defined as a block of Earth lithosphere exotic, sharply different from and accreted onto the adjoining areas after long horizontal displacement (hundreds of km or more) related to plate tectonics. Terranes are associated to many mountain belts but occur in places rarely easy to walk on.
Adding geological criterion VIII to the dossier for nominating the sila national park to the unesco world heritage list / Crisci, Gm; Critelli, Salvatore; DE ROSA, Rosanna; Marabini, S; Procopio, F; Vai, Gb. - In: RENDICONTI ONLINE DELLA SOCIETÀ GEOLOGICA ITALIANA. - ISSN 2035-8008. - 21(2012), pp. 701-702.