Natural reserve, community important site and a geosite: knowledge, safeguard and esteem

The first studies: from the 1800 until the first years of ‘900

The chalky area of Santa Ninfa and Gibellina was kwon by many studious (like Baldacci, Marinelli, Gemmellaro) since the end of 800 for the geological and geomorphological importance.

Gemellaro in his monograph of 1915 (‘’Le doline nella formazione gessosa a NE di Santa Ninfa’’) described 19 dolines, by through splendid and detailed explicative drawings, also he provides precious informations about the natural landscape of the age.

The 1970-1990’s.

Santa Ninfa’s cave and his extended karstic area have always stimulated interest in the local community: in 1970 born the ‘’Gruppo Archeologico’’ and the ‘’Gruppo Speleologico’’ of Santa Ninfa, that allow the youngest people of the town to know the territory and explore the numerous caves, these collaborated with the speleology’s groups of Palermo.

In the 85- 87’s the section of ‘’Karst and Physic Speleology’’ of CNR starts a campaign of interdisciplinary research. In this research participated 11 University and research authority, with the coordination of the University of Palermo, and the support of CAI Palermo of the A.N.A. Nisida (Palermo) and of the Speleology Regional Federation of Emilia Romagna, and the logistic support of Santa Ninfa’s municipality and the local speleology group.

The Natural Reserve ‘’Santa Ninfa’s cave’’

In 1995 Sicily region instituted the Natural Reserve of ‘’Santa Ninfa’s cave’’ that entrust the management to Sicily Legambiente. The Reserve’s perimeter (that is 140 Ha) include the  ‘’Valle cieca del Biviere’’ that consist in the most important basin of the cave: it’s recognize the geomorphological and hydrogeological value of the karstic system and the need to protect  also the epigeal environments (on the surface).

The activities made of the managing authority are finalize to the increase of knowledge, to the reduction of anthropic impacts, to the environmental divulgation: climate and environmental monitoring to control the impacts; hidrogeochimic studies of the karstic water- bearing; regulation of the use; didactic laboratories for the schools; naturalistic studies; intervention of environmental requalification; actions to promote the territory. In the valorisation programme there is also the born of the centre ‘’Esplora Ambiente’’ in the Castle of Rampinzeri, that is an important pole for the divulgation of the environmental and cultural values of the territory.

The site of a community importance

In 1998 is institute according to the European directives ‘’Habitat’’ and ‘’Birds’’, the bis site of community importance ‘’Complesso dei monti di Santa Ninfa- Gibellina e Grotta di Santa Ninfa’’ (660 Ha). It’s an important goal for the protection and valorisation of the area because is recognize the remarkable interest of the site also in a naturalistic field (vegetables, fauna and flora) highlight by the studies of the managing authority.

The Geosite

In 2015 the Sicilian Region institute the geosite of ‘’ Sistema carsico della grotto di Santa Ninfa’’ recognize the scientific interest, national importance of the karstic complex.