Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
Stužica primeval forest
|Inscription||2007 (31st Session)|
|Extensions||2011 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.
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.
* – 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.
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:
- 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”
- Virgin Forest Reserve in NP Biogradska Gora
- Forêt de la Vallée de Lodano
- Forêt de la Bettlachstock
- Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe". UNESCO.
- "Unesco approves the extension of the Carpathian Primary Beech forests".
- "Protecting virgin forest in the Ukrainian Carpathians".
- Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
- "Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (Serbia)". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- "Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (Montenegro)". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- "Forêts primaires et anciennes de hêtres des Carpates et d'autres régions d'Europe (Switzerland)". UNESCO. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and the ancient beech forests of Germany.|
- "Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 28 September 2008.
- Beauty and changes of Primeval beech forests throughout a year