Wilderness potential of the Beech Forest in Europe has been of interest to the UNESCO. In 2007 the first Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians, Slovakia and Ukraine were inscribed by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee on the List of the World Natural Heritages. The second inscription happened in 2011 with additional component parts from Germany “Ancient Beech Forests of Germany” and the last one on the 7th July this year as a “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”. The World Natural Heritage now includes 78 segments of Beech forests altogether in 12 countries.

The component parts represent an outstanding example of undisturbed, complex temperate forests, its postglacial expansion process and exhibit the most complete and comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure and mixed stands of European Beech across a variety of environmental conditions. They contain an invaluable genetic reservoir of Beech and many species associated and dependent on these forest habitats. Due to this there is a great overlap with areas of the European Wilderness Network.

The best examples are sites of Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe, already either included in the European Wilderness Network (Kalkalpen Wilderness, Austria and Zacharovanyy Kray Wilderness, Ukraine) or currently already audited (Uholka and Shirokyy Luh Wilderness, Ukraine) and Jasmund Wilderness just waiting for the completition of the Wilderness certification audit. Other areas like Hainich, Germany, Synevyr and Gorgany, Ukraine have shown a great interest to be internationally recognized as a wilderness meeting the strict European Wilderness Quality Standard which even surpasses the United States Wilderness Standard.

 

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About Author

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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