Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe is a transnational composite nature UNESCO World Heritage site, encompassing forests in 12 European countries.

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Stužica primeval forest
Location(see map)
Inscription2007 (31st Session)
Extensions2011 and 2017

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians include ten separate massifs located along the 185 km (115 mi) long axis from the Rakhiv mountains and Chornohora ridge in Ukraine over the Poloniny Ridge (Slovakia) to the Vihorlat Mountains in Slovakia. The Ancient Beech Forests of Germany include five locations, cover 4,391 hectares and were added in 2011.

The Carpathian site covers a total area of 77,971.6 ha (192,672 acres), out of which only 29,278.9 ha (72,350 acres) are part of the actual preserved area, while the rest is considered a "buffer zone". Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians cover areas of Zakarpattia and Prešov Regions. Over 70% of the site is located in Ukraine. The area includes two national parks, and some habitat controlled areas, mostly in Slovakia. Both national parks, along with a neighboring area in Poland, compose a separate biosphere reserve, the East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. Besides Havešová, Rožok, and Stužica (all of them located in Bukovské vrchy), there is a fourth component situated in Slovakia, named Kyjovský prales of Vihorlat. Ukrainian locations include Chornohora, Kuziy-Trybushany, Maramarosh, Stuzhytsia–Uzhok, Svydovets, and Uholka–Shyrikyi Luh. Only a few of the ten components are accessible to visitors. Stužica is the only one of three locations in Bukovské vrchy (Slovakia) with available hiking trails. In 2017, UNESCO extended the site, adding forests in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, and Spain.[1][2]

The last intact virgin forest in the temperate latitudes of Europe is to be found in the Carpathians. Trees can live to a hundred years old in these forests, providing an important habitat for organisms such as mushrooms, moss, lichen, insects, rare birds (e.g. capercaillie and black grouse) and mammals (e.g. bats, brown bear, wolf and lynx). Large parts of the forest in the Romanian part of the Carpathians have been lost due to deforestation. The pressure on timber as a resource may increase due to international demand and European companies may start large-scale felling in neighbouring Ukraine. Currently unprotected areas of virgin forest can be permanently preserved in the Ukrainian Carpathians by expanding and reinforcing conservation areas. In the Ukrainian Carpathians there are nine national parks and two biosphere reserves. There is a general ban on tree felling in coniferous forest areas above 1,100 metres. If park administrations are shown to work, management of larger, previously unprotected areas of virgin forest to preserve them on a permanent basis, may occur. There are roughly 100,000 additional hectares of forest which could be integrated into the existing conservation areas.[3]


Location of the Primary Beech World Heritage Sites in Europe.
Protected siteType of natural reserveRegionCountryProtected areaBuffer zone
Lumi i GashitValbonë Valley National ParkKukësAlbania1261,52 ha8977,48 ha
RrajcaShebenik-Jablanica National ParkElbasanAlbania2129,45 ha2569,75 ha
Nationalpark KalkalpenNationalpark KalkalpenUpper AustriaAustria1867.45 ha[4]1545.05 ha[4]
Dürrenstein ForestDürrenstein ForestLower Austria, StyriaAustria2946.2 ha[4]14197.24 ha[4]
Sonian ForestSonian ForestBrussels & BrabantBelgium269,31 ha4650,86 ha
Central Balkan National ParkCentral Balkan National Parkcentral Balkan MountainsBulgaria10988,91 ha11720,85 ha
Paklenica National ParkPaklenica National ParkLika-Senj, ZadarCroatia2031,78 ha810,11 ha
Hajdučki and Rožanski strict reservationsNorthern Velebit National ParkLika-SenjCroatia1289,11 ha9869,25 ha
JasmundJasmund National ParkMecklenburg-VorpommernGermany492,5 ha2510,5 ha
SerrahnMüritz National ParkMecklenburg-VorpommernGermany268,1 ha2568 ha
Grumsiner ForestGrumsiner Forest Nature ReserveBrandenburgGermany590,1 ha274,3 ha
HainichHainich National ParkThuringiaGermany1573,4 ha4085,4 ha
KellerwaldKellerwald-Edersee National ParkHesseGermany1467,1 ha4271,4 ha
Cervara ValleyParco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e MoliseAbruzzoItaly119,7 ha751,61 ha
Moricento ForestParco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e MoliseAbruzzoItaly192,7 ha751,61 ha
Coppo del MortoParco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e MoliseAbruzzoItaly104,71 ha415,51 ha
Coppo del PrincipeParco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e MoliseAbruzzoItaly194,49 ha446,62 ha
Val FondilloParco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e MoliseAbruzzoItaly325,03 ha700,95 ha
Cozzo FerrieroPollino National ParkCalabria, BasilicataItaly95,74 ha482,61 ha
Foresta UmbraGargano National ParkApuliaItaly182,23 ha1.752,54 ha
Cimino MountCimino MountAbruzzo, LazioItaly57,54 ha87,96 ha
Raschio MountRegional Natural Park of the Bracciano-Martignano lake complexLazioItaly73,73 ha54,75 ha
Sasso FratinoForeste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, Campigna National ParkEmilia-Romagna, TuscanyItaly781,43 ha6.936,64 ha
Cheile Nerei-BeușnițaCheile Nerei-Beușnița National ParkCaraș-SeverinRomania4292,27 ha5959,87 ha
Şinca secular forestŞinca secular forestBrașovRomania338,24 ha445,76 ha
Slătioara secular forestSlătioara secular forestSuceavaRomania609,12 ha429,43 ha
CoziaCozia National ParkVâlceaRomania109,58 ha14253 ha
Domogled – Valea CerneiDomogled-Valea Cernei National ParkMehedinți, Caraș-Severin, GorjRomania9732,26 ha51461,28 ha
Groșii ȚibleșuluiGroșii Țibleșului National ParkMaramureșRomania346,37 ha563,57 ha
Izvoarele NereiSemenic-Cheile Carașului National ParkCaraș-SeverinRomania4677,21 ha2494,83 ha
Strîmbu BăiuțStrîmbu Băiuț National ParkMaramureșRomania598,14 ha713,09 ha
Stužica – Bukovské vrchyPoloniny National Park*PrešovSlovakia2950 ha11300 ha
RožokPreserved areas of PrešovPrešovSlovakia67,1 ha41,4 ha
VihorlatPreserved areas of PrešovPrešovSlovakia2578 ha2413 ha
HavešováPreserved areas of PrešovPrešovSlovakia171,3 ha63,9 ha
Forest reserve of the Virgin Forest of KrokarForest reserve of the Virgin Forest of KrokarKočevjeSlovenia74,50 ha47,90 ha
Snežnik–Ždrocle forest reserveSnežnik–Ždrocle forest reserveIlirska Bistrica, Loška DolinaSlovenia720,24128,80
Tejera Negra BeechSierra Norte de Guadalajara Natural ParkCastile-La ManchaSpain255,52 ha13880,86 ha
Montejo BeechBeech area of Montejo de la SierraCommunity of MadridSpain71,79 ha13880,86 ha
Lizardoia Integral ReserveIrati ForestNavarreSpain63,97 ha24494,52 ha
AztaparretaIntegral Reserve of the Ravine of AztaparretaNavarreSpain171,06 ha24494,52 ha
Cuesta Fría BeechAyllónCastile and LeónSpain213,65 ha14253 ha
Canal de AsotínPicos de Europa National ParkCastile and LeónSpain109,58 ha14253 ha
ChornohoraCarpathian Biosphere ReserveZakarpattiaUkraine2476,8 ha12925 ha
Uholka – Shyrikyi LuhCarpathian Biosphere ReserveZakarpattiaUkraine11860 ha3301 ha
SvydovetsCarpathian Biosphere ReserveZakarpattiaUkraine3030,5 ha5639,5 ha
MaramaroshCarpathian Biosphere ReserveZakarpattiaUkraine2243,6 ha6230,4 ha
Kuziy – TrybushanyCarpathian Biosphere ReserveZakarpattiaUkraine1369,6 ha3163,4 ha
Stuzhytsia – UzhokUzhanian National Nature ParkZakarpattiaUkraine2532 ha3615 ha
GorganyGorgany Nature ReserveIvano-FrankivskUkraine753,48 ha4637,59 ha
RoztochyaRoztochya Biosphere ReserveLvivUkraine384,81 ha598,21 ha
Satanіvska DachaPodilski Tovtry National Nature ParkKhmelnytskyiUkraine212,01 ha559,37 ha
SynevyrNational Nature Park SynevirZakarpattiaUkraine2865,04 ha2181,74 ha
Zacharovanyi KraiZacharovany Krai National Nature ParkZakarpattiaUkraine1258,13 ha1275,44 ha

* – Most of the Slovak components of the World Heritage site are situated in the Poloniny National Park in the easternmost and also the least populated part of the country. The National Park was created on 1 October 1997 with a protected area of 298.05 km² and a buffer zone of 109.73 km².

Tentative list

On 28 February 2018, several more forests in Serbia, Montenegro and Switzerland were placed on the World Heritage Tentative list as a proposal for the expansion of the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe site. Forests included on the Tentative list are:

In Serbia[5]

  • Nature Reserve “Vinatovača
  • Strict Nature Reserve “Busovata
  • Strict Nature Reserve “Felješana
  • Strict Nature Reserve “Kukavica
  • Strict Nature Reserve “Golema reka
  • Nature Reserve “Danilova kosa
  • Strict Nature Reserve “Iznad Tatalije
  • Strict Nature Reserve “Zelenika
  • Strict Nature Reserve “Zeleničje
  • Special Nature Reserve “Mala Jasenova Glava
  • Strict Nature Reserve “Vrh Željina-Pločka Čuka

In Montenegro[6]

In Switzerland[7]

  • Forêt de la Vallée de Lodano
  • Forêt de la Bettlachstock

See also


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