Monte San Giorgio
The pyramid-shaped, wooded mountain of Monte San Giorgio beside Lake Lugano is regarded as the best fossil record of marine life from the Triassic Period (245–230 million years ago). The sequence records life in a tropical lagoon environment, sheltered and partially separated from the open sea by an offshore reef. Diverse marine life flourished within this lagoon, including reptiles, fish, bivalves, ammonites, echinoderms and crustaceans. Because the lagoon was near land, the remains also include land-based fossils of reptiles, insects and plants, resulting in an extremely rich source of fossils.
2017 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
Exceptional record of marine life from the Triassic Period and important remains of life on land
Switzerland – the landscape of Monte San Giorgio is identified on the Federal Inventory of Landscapes, Sites and Natural Monuments’ which encompasses the core property and buffer zone (review/ approved 29.03.2017; https://www.bafu.admin.ch/bafu/it/home/temi/paesaggio.html?_organization=811&_topic=29&_startDate=01.01.2016&_pageIndex=0).
Palaeontological heritage is the property of the state and regulated by cantonal law requiring permits for collecting.
Italy – the property and its buffer zone lie within a Landscape Protection Zone recognized within national law. Palaeontological heritage (considered to be the equivalent to cultural heritage) is the property of the state and regulated by national law requiring permits for collecting.
Switzerland – Monte San Giorgio is identified within the Canton Development Plan as a Landscape Protection Zone and is similarly recognized in relevant Development Plans as a Nature Reserve. The fossil remains are specifically protected by the “Cantonal law on nature protection (2001)” of Canton Ticino which requires a permit for any collecting (IUCN, 2002, Nomination – Transnational Management Plan).
Italy – regional, provincial and local legislative frameworks are in place to protect the integrity of Monte San Giorgio and were considered effective at the time of inscription. It is also noted that the municipalities of Besano, Porto Ceresio and Viggiù applied for additional palaeontological ‘restraint’ in 2007(IUCN, 2009, Nomination – Transnational Management Plan, http://www.montesangiorgio.org/Organizzazione/Cosa-facciamo.html).
(Nomination – Transnational Management Plan, IUCN, 2002 & 2009, OFEV, 2013).
A revision of the transnational management plan is foreseen (Accordo programmatico tra Confederazione CH e Canto Ticino concernente gli obiettivi programmatici nel settore Patrimonio mondiale deII‘UNESCO
Monte San Giorgio 2016-2019)
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2013 took note of the collaboration between the States Parties of Italy and Switzerland to ensure effective management of the transboundary property, and recommended to them to urgently ensure that the Transnational Board become operational as soon as possible for the effective conservation and management of this property (Phnom Penh, Cambodia 16 - 27 June 2013 WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add). The frequency of the meetings of the Transnational Board TNB in 2014 and 2015 was rare so that the joint projects advanced with difficulties and slowly. In 2014 a new transboundary agreement was presented based on the “Accordo quadro tra la Confederazione Svizzera e la Repubblica italiana per la cooperazione transfrontaliera delle collettività ed autorità regionali e locali: https://www.admin.ch/opc/fr/classified-compilation/19930044/199304260000/0.131.245.4.pdf . So far (July 2017) the agreement not been signed yet.
(IUCN, 2002 & 2009, Molinari et al, 2002, Nomination - Italian extension). In its Decision 34 COM 8B.6 the World Heritage Committee encouraged the State Party of Switzerland to bring forward a minor boundary modification proposal to accommodate the anticipated minor changes to the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone. No minor boundary modification proposal has been submitted to date.
. A Museum Director (starting from 01.01.2016 improvement from 40% to 50%)), and two assistants (60% each) and 2 substitutes on call are responsible for the development and management of the museum (Convention 2016-2019 Ticino Canton – Monte San Giorgio Foundation). Further support is provided from the Cantonal Museum of Natural History (OFEV, 2013). Excavations are carried out by the Cantonal Museum of Natural History which also coordinates the scientific research activities.
Italy – a site manager has been established to coordinate the goals of the management plan. Further support is provided by the community of Piambello (OFEV, 2013).
There are also trained official guides associated with the site and some volunteers. The Visitor Centre of Clivio is not regularly open.
(IUCN, 2002 & 2009, Molinari et al, 2002, Nomination – Transnational Management Plan).
On the Swiss side in 2015 a 2016 due to financial restrictions no excavations could took place. On the Italian side excavations, since years, for several reasons, don’t take place.
There is a network of local museums associated with the site on both the Swiss and Italian sides including museums at Meride, Besano and Clivio. The redeveloped (2012) Meride Fossil Museum of Monte San Giorgio was opened providing a permanent exhibition space and a focus for visitors to the site. Tours and open days have been hosted for the general public and educational activities involving schools in excavations. Since the opening , the exhibition has been enriched with different multimedia supplies (i.g. audioguides; 3D animation etc.).
A multilingual website (www.montesangiorgio.org) has been established (and is being further developed) setting out the background to the site, management, research and current information about activities and events.
(IUCN, 2002 & 2009, Nomination – Transnational Management Plan).
Several projects were undertaekn in the last 5 years (http://www.montesangiorgio.org/en/Organizzazione/Cosa-facciamo/Progetti.html)
The transnational hiking trail, inaugurated in 2013. The trail could, however, be improved. Efforts to align the iInformation on the information panels between Swiss and Italian side were made under the supervision of the Transational Scientific Commission.
(Nomination – Transnational management Plan, WCMC, 2011, www.montesangiorgio.org, OFEV, 2013).
At the moment there is no information available about systematic data collecting.
Since 1994 excavations have re-examined classic fossiliferous levels (Cava Inferiore, Cava Superiore, Kalkschieferzone, Cassina beds) and investigated the Sceltrich new fossil horizon (Stockar & Garassino 2013). Excavations and associated research continue to widen understanding of vertebrate paleontology (in particular fish eg. Lombardo, Tintori & Tona 2012), refined dating (Stockar, Baumgartner & Condon 2012) and modeling of basin evolution (Stockar, Adatte, Baumgartner & Föllmi 2013) and the study of new fossil groups, including insects (eg Bechly & Stockar, 2011) and radiolaria (Stockar, Dumitrica & Baumgartner 2012).
There is ongoing research on fossil material of Monte San Giorgio (MSG) in the collection of the Paleontological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich (PIMUZ) and of the Museo cantonale di stotia natural di Lugano. Overall, research is collaborative, linking universities and museums form across Switzerland and Italy and more widely, on specific projects, with institutions from around the world (eg Jadoul & Tintori, 2012). Undergraduate and postgraduate study of vertebrate palaeontology has also been possible.
(OFEV, 2013, www.montesangiorgio.org, Molinari et al., 2002, Nomination – Italian extension).
A transnational scientific commission took office at the beginning of 2014.
An updated list of scientific publications can be found under http://www4.ti.ch/dt/da/mcsn/temi/mcsn/il-museo/monte-san-giorgio/pubblicazioni-scientifiche/2017/
|№||Organization/ individuals||Project duration||Brief description of Active Projects|
|1||Monte San Giorgio Foundation||Monte San Giorgio website – on-going development|
|2||Monte San Giorgio Foundation (Switzerland) and Commission for planning and management ot the Monte San Giorgio UNESCO site (Italy)||Develop a network of walking trails|
|3||Monte San Giorgio Foundation||Meride Museum (opened 2012) – on-going development of new exhibition projects|
|4||Municipality of Besano||Besano Museum- on-going development - Italy|
|5||Cantonal Museum of Natural History||Palaeontological excavations and geological investigations throughout the Middle Triassic sequence– on-going - Switzerland|
|6||Commission for planning and management on the Monte San Giorgio UNESCO site (Italy)||Clivio Museum ( Museo Insubrico di Storia Naturale) and visitor center- on-going development - Italy|
|№||Site need title||Brief description of potential site needs||Support needed for following years|
|1||.||Monitoring – develop an approach to monitoring the condition key elements within the World Heritage Site|
|2||Bechly, G & Stockar, R, 2011. The first Mesozoic record of the extinct apterygote insect genus Dasyleptus (Insecta: Archaeognatha: Monura: Dasyleptidae) from the Triassic of Monte San Giorgio (Switzerland) Palaeodiversity 4: 23–37|
|3||H. Furrer and A.Vandelli, 2014 Guide of the Museum of fossils from the Monte San Giorgio, Fondazione del Monte San Giorgio|
|4||IUCN, 2002. World Heritage nomination – IUCN Technical Evaluation, Monte san Giorgio (Switzerland) ID no 1090.|
|5||IUCN, 2009. World Heritage nomination – IUCN Technical Evaluation, Monte san Giorgio (Italy) ID No 1090 bis|
|6||Jadoul, F & Tintori, A, 2012.Pan-European Correlation of the Triassic, 9th International Field Workshop September 1-5, 2012 The Middle-Late Triassic of Lombardy (I) and Canton Ticino (CH) 60pp|
|7||List of the scientific publications: http://www4.ti.ch/dt/da/mcsn/temi/mcsn/il-museo/monte-san-g…|
|8||Lombardo, C, Tintori, A & Tona, D, 2012. A new species of Sangiorgioichthys (Actinopterygii, Semionotiformes) from the Kalkschieferzone of Monte San Giorgio (Middle Triassic; Meride, Canton Ticino, Switzerland), Bollettino della Società Paleontologica Italiana, 51 (3), 2012, 203-212. Modena|
|9||Molinari et al, 2002. Nomination of Monte San Giorgio for inclusion on the World Heritage List. Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), Bern. 56pp, Appendices 277pp.|
|10||Nomination of Monte San Giorgio (Italian extension of Monte San Giorgio, Switzerland, inscribed in 2003) for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List|
|11||Nomination of Monte San Giorgio (Italian extension of Monte San Giorgio, Switzerland, inscribed in 2003) for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Transnational Management Plan - Abstract|
|12||OFEV, 2013. Rapport conjoint sur l’état de conservation du bien Monte San Giorgio, 17pp +annexes|
|13||Riva A., Maggiori M. & Panzini F. (2008). I funghi del Monte San giorgio. Rassegna Micologica Ticinese 6. 239 pp|
|14||Stockar R. & Garassino A. (2013). Meridecaris ladinica n. gen. n. sp. (Crustacea, Decapoda, Clytiopsidae) from the Middle Triassic (Ladinian) of Monte San Giorgio (Canton Ticino, Switzerland). Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie 270(3): 347–356.|
|15||Stockar R., Adatte T., Baumgartner P.O. & Föllmi K. (2013). Palaeoenvironmental significance of organic facies and stable isotope signatures: the Ladinian San Giorgio Dolomite and Meride Limestone of Monte San Giorgio (Switzerland, WHL UNESCO). Sedimentology 60: 239–269.|
|16||Stockar R., Baumgartner P.O. & Condon D. (2012). Integrated Ladinian bio-chronostratigraphy and geochronology of the Monte San Giorgio section (Southern Alps, Switzerland). Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 105(1): 85–108.|
|17||Stockar R., Dumitrica P. & Baumgartner P.O. (2012). Early Ladinian radiolarian fauna from the Monte San Giorgio (Southern Alps, Switzerland): systematics, biostratigraphy and palaeo(bio)geographic implications. Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia, 118, 375–437.|
|18||World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), 2011. Monte San Giorgio – Switzerland and Italy|
|19||World Heritage Committee (WHC), 2003. Inscription of Monte San Giorgio, 27COM 8C.7|
|20||World Heritage Committee (WHC), 2010. Monte San Giorgio approval of extension, 34COM 8B.6|