Extension of Primeval Beech Forests World Heritage Site: Great Success for Dedicated Efforts

For several years, ten European countries and a number of nature conservation NGOs, including EuroNatur, had been jointly working towards the inclusion of old-growth beech forests in the list of World Natural Heritage sites. Last Friday, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at its yearly session decided to add 63 beech forests in ten European countries to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

On the steep slopes of the Shebenik-Jablanica mountains, the beech forests have been spared from human interference thanks to their secluded location. © Hannes Knapp

The common beech is a true European: Its occurrence is restricted to our continent. But we are dealing carelessly with this special responsibility. Currently, the last primeval beech forests fall victim to the chainsaws of ruthless timber companies at breathtaking speed, for example in Romania. EuroNatur and its Romanian partner organisation AgentGreen initiated the campaign SaveParadiseForests in March to save the country’s paradise forests. In Albania, deforestation is increasing, too. In Lumi-i-Gashit in the north of the country as well as at the slopes of the Shebenik Jablanica Mountains bordering Macedonia, there are still pristine, wild beech mountain forests. EuroNatur, its Albanian partner organisation PPNEA and international forest experts strongly advocated adding these areas to the list of World Natural Heritage sites – successfully!

Since Friday, the list includes primeval beech forests from Spain across Austria to Romania and Albania, extending the World Natural Heritage, which already existed since 2007/2011 into the site “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”. “UNESCO’s decision is an important step towards the vision of a pan-European network to save primeval and old beech forests. Now it’s up to the countries’ governments to finally implement consistent protection measures in order to preserve this unique natural heritage”, says EuroNatur CEO Gabriel Schwaderer.

Find out more about the natural treasures of the old beech forests in the nomination movie to the UNESCO

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