Area della Biosfera del Monviso

© UNESCO/Renzo Ribetto
ALTA VALLE - Po a riondino - Mont-Viso (Italy)

The Monviso biosphere reserve is located in the northern Alpine part of Italy near the French border. The area is a mosaic of ecosystems that climb from 450 masl to 3 841 masl.

Declaration date: 2013
Administrative authorities: Parco del Po Cuneese
Surface area: 293 916.7 ha
Core area: 13 355.5 ha
Buffer zone: 80 979.8 ha
Transition area: territorial: 199 581.4 ha

Latitude: 44°22’29.64’’N – 44°51’44.29’’N
Longitude: 6°51’12.42’’E – 7°59’37.75’’E
Central point: 44°37′12″N – 7°25′16″E


Ecological Characteristics

© UNESCO/Renzo Ribetto
ALTA VALLE - Pian Melze - Mont-Viso (Italy)

Monviso encompasses a mosaic of ecosystems ranging from the arid and rocky landscape found in the high altitudes of the Monviso massive (at a maximum elevation of 3 841 m) to the unusual forest ecosystem, which hosts, among others, Pinus cembra. The Alevè forest, which follows the whole length of the Western Alps, is the most unique and intact part of the reserve, while a continuum of different riparian environments can be found along the Po River, from its springs at Pian del Re (at an elevation of 2 020 m) to the Casalgrasso municipality, and then downstream towards the Torino Province – all of which are related to the permanent presence of the water stream.

Important ecosystems can be found along the water stream and little rivers, hosting endemic species of value for conservation. Among the fauna, Salamandra lanzai, Coronella austriaca, Parnassius apollo, Callimorpha quadripunctata, Tetrao tetrix and Mustela erminea are of particular note; while Primula hirsuta, Veronica allionii and Juncus triglumis are notable examples of flora.

The biosphere reserve includes various areas already recognized for their importance to international nature conservation bodies, such as Natura 2000 and Important Birds Areas (IBAs) with corresponding Italian designations (SIC, ZPS).

Socio-economic characteristics

© UNESCO/Renzo Ribetto
ALTA VALLE - Chiesetta P Re - Mont-Viso (Italy)

The Mongoloid Shompen Tribe, about 200 in number, live in the forests of the biosphere reserve particularly along the rivers and streams. They are hunters and food gatherers, dependent on forest and marine resources for sustenance. Another Mongoloid Tribe, Nicobarese, about 300 in number, used to live in settlements along the west coast. After the tsunami in 2004, which devastated their settlement on the western coast, they were relocated to Afra Bay in the North Coast and Campbell Bay. They survive on fish caught from the sea. The settlers and mainlanders, which number over 8 000, live along the southeast coast of the island, practising agriculture, horticulture and fishing. The Shompens move between the Core and Buffer Zones, while the settlers and Nicobarese live in settlements spread along the coast in the Transition zone.

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                                                                                 Last updated: July 2013

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