Dolomiti D’Ampezzo Natural Park

Since the 1200s the Regole, a system of collective ownership, have protected the area of Cortina d’Ampezzo: the institution consists of heads of families who manage the forests and pastures in accordance with the “Laudi”, ancient rules. It is thanks to this institution that the valley has been able to preserve its forestry heritage, part of which was designated a protected area in 1990 and named the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo Natural Park. The protected area is in the shape of a wedge with two lateral branches and borders with the South Tyrolean Fanes – Senes – Braies Park to the north. The geological formations found in the Park date back to the period between the Middle Triassic (230 million years ago) and the Upper Cretaceous (90 million years ago). The oldest formations in the area lie at the foot of the Cristallo and Tofane mountains and their clay and marl are packed with fossils. Stratified dolomite can reach a thickness of more than one kilometre, giving rise to spectacular walls and breathtaking towers which dominate the skyline (Tofana di Rozes, Cristallo, Piz Popena, Fanes and Travenanzes Towers). Woodland with towering conifers covers nearly all the sides of the valley between 1300 and 1900 metres, because above that altitude only smaller, tougher plants are able to survive; only Val Travenanzes has no tall trees due to the lack of sunlight and the particularly harsh conditions of the terrain. The fauna in the Ampezzo area is incredibly diverse, due in part to the great variety of habitats (water, rocks, woods and meadows) which encourage the development of rich ecological niches. (several sources)

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