In the Kočevsko region of southern Slovenia, untouched nature remains in the form of virgin forests. One of these rare remains of ancient times is the Virgin Forest Krokar. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, this forest is now a component part of the transnational site “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”.
With a coverage of 74.50 ha, the Virgin Forest Krokar is defined by a wilderness scenery of beech and fir, with some of the densest and most vital carnivore populations. Brown bears, wolves, lynx, and golden eagles are just some examples of the original fauna inhabiting this fascinating forest.
Slovenian Forest Week
Slovenian Forests Week is an annual event occuring in late May. The event aims to link all institutions involved in the management of the Slovenian forests to raise awareness about the importance of forests and forestry to the wider society. This year, one of the activities took place on 20th May 2021, when around 30 guests participated in the official opening ceremony of the new trail in the Virgin Forest Krokar.
Representatives of the BEECH POWER project also had the chance to be present and speak about the role of the project in the setup of the trail. After the opening ceremony, all participants were invited to hike along the trail, while BEECH POWER partner Slovenia Forest Service presented the trail, area, beech forest, and UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
BEECH POWER in the protection of Virgin Forest Krokar
Since the inscription of Krokar on the UNESCO List in 2017, the site has experienced an increase in visitor numbers. Often, those visitors are unaware of the regulations and the boundaries of the area, resulting in unintentional disturbance and degradation of these valuable ecosystems. For this reason, in order to preserve the integrity of the protected forest, the BEECH POWER project, together with other stakeholders, supported the development of a new trail to address the need for direction of visitors who want to experience the primeval forest.
The BEECH POWER project is the result of an international need of cooperation to safeguard the last old-growth beech forest ecosystems in Europe. It aims to raise awareness, as well as engage the general public and relevant stakeholders, in the protection of beech forests through an ecosystem-based strategies for sustainable regional development.