A Trail of the Past: Melide – Carona

Nature Trail

History, fauna, forests, wood, geology, erratic boulders and “cuppellar” boulders... 

Point 1 – The Forest’s Recreational Function

The forest is very important for entertainment and sports especially when close to densely inhabited territories like our urban agglomerates or our valley plains. This, however, can also be a heavy burden for the forest. In every season the well-being derived from a walk in the woods (depending on the predisposition of every single individual towards nature) is great.

(ing. Francesco Ryf)

Point 2 – The Forest’s Naturalistic Function

Nature, expressed in terms of biodiversity, is only guaranteed through the maintenance of what appears to be, but is really not, a disorderly forest. It is, in fact, within these ideally chaotic relationships, mainly consisting in timber deposited here and there and plants whose respiratory capacities have been lost that one finds an infinite number of microorganisms, pathogens, invertebrates and vertebrates. It is therefore in this sphere that cycles initiate and it is inside each of these that every element defines its own habitat, which will later be called natural.

(ing. Francesco Ryf)

Point 3 – History, Man, the Path

A “path of the past”, according to historical references, is a path that has been greatly used throughout the centuries and which thus retains a historical value. This path was also called “the path of the dead” not because of any particular configuration tied to it but because in the past it was used by the citizens of Melide to transport their dead in procession to Carona.

Point 4 – Fauna

The forest is the most productive ecosystem. The tree is the first link of the long food chain that characterizes a forest environment: all the parts of the tree, whether dead or alive, may serve as food or shelter to numerous vegetable and animal species that leave their traces in every stage of the tree’s growth and senescence. The animals of the forest are hard to spot when the trees are covered in leaves and most of our mammals are able to take advantage of the ground’s conformation and of the vegetation to hide from human eyes.

(Corbet,G.;Ovender,D.(1980):The Memmals. trad. it. Pandolfi, M. (1995). Ed. Franco Muzzio: 1985. Thomassin, S. (1991): Ecoguide: tracce di animali:Garzanti Editore:1991)

Point 5 – Geology

The region between Melide and Carona is essentially characterized by two geologic peculiarities that have a very different origin and age: very ancient volcanic rocks dating back to about 280-250 million years ago and glacial sediments of the quaternary period, dating back “only”20'000-18'000 years.

(dr. Markus Felber and dr. Paolo Oppizzi, Cant. Museum of Nat. History, Lugano)

Point 6 – The Forest

The forest is not to be interpreted as an ensemble of vegetable units, but as a dynamic player in a constantly expanding society, supplier of such products as leisure time, wood raw materials and biodiversity. And it is in this dynamic relationship that man finds his perfect niche. Unfortunately, despite this ideal outlook, we often hear about diseases attacking the forests and we become aware of the catastrophic consequences that the death of the forests might have on man. In fact, even man of the global information era is in sore need of the forest.

(Bolliger, M.; Diener,M.81997: L’UFAFP informa: Monitoraggio dei boschi in CH 1996-99. UFAFP; FNP. Berna, Birmensdorf: 1997)

Point 7 – Erratic Boulders and “Cuppellar” Boulders

Erratic boulders are rock “fragments” that have been transported by glacier ice and deposited very far away from their place of origin. Only those boulders that are geologically different from the typical ones of the region in which they lie are considered such.

In the case of Melide, the glacier that ran through the area, on the basis of geological assessments was the Adda glacier, which withdrew 15-10’000 years ago. From that time on, the climate of the cisalpine region became very similar to today’s and vegetation quickly grew to cover the ground again. Their particular position, like their diverse characteristics have always caused a certain amount of interest in man, leading him to marking them with special signs. The most widespread incision on the boulders of the Alpine Chain (wherever rock art can be found) is represented by a cup shape incision: the diameter and depth may vary but the cup shape remains. The erratic boulder located on the path in the Municipality of Corona bears 50 “Coppelle” or cups, a cross and two canal shaped grooves.

Point 8 – The Chestnut Tree

The European chestnut tree can be found in the upper Mediterranean area, from the Caspian Sea all the way to Portugal. This plant has become widespread in this area, finding favourable environmental conditions for its growth and has been strongly connected to man’s economic activity.

(Bleistein, U.; Zierhafer, W. 1995)

Point 9 – Wood Production

The use of the forest, and thus of wood, for economic purposes is very much linked to the development of the construction market. In the wood market, only paper production can be said to have a positive growth rate today. A rapid calculation as to the cost/benefit ratio of cutting a forest is discouraging and makes people choose other, more profitable activities. The final consequences of all this is that wood is left to decay and often there is a lack of action on the part of foresters to protect forests.

(Holenstein, B., 1995: Legno e bosco in CH. UFAFP. Berna: 1995)

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  • Height Difference

    Ascent: 325 m
    Descent: 0 m
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  • Durata

    0.55 h

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