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|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
Stužica primeval forest
|Countries||Slovakia, Ukraine, Germany|
|Region||Prešov and Zakarpattia|
|Area||33,669 ha (83,198 acres)|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Region||Europe and North America|
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 countries of Europe. 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 in various parts of Germany.
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, a biosphere reserve, and a few 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. However, only 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.
The five German forests cover 4,391 hectares and were added in 2011. In 2017, the site was expanded again, with adding forests Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, and Spain.
In 2017, UNESCO extended the site to numerous forests in 12 European countries.
The last intact virgin forest in the temperate latitudes of Europe is to be found in the Carpathians. Trees live to be a hundred years old in these forests, providing an important habitat for numerous 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 in recent years. The pressure on timber as a resource is set to increase as the result of international demand and it is only a matter of time before international European companies start large-scale felling in neighbouring Ukraine. There is only a small time window in which the currently unprotected areas of virgin forest can be permanently preserved in the Ukrainian Carpathians by expanding and reinforcing conservation areas.
Ukraine is already working hard to protect the diversity of its species and habitats. In the Ukrainian Carpathians there are now nine national parks and two biosphere reserves. There is also a general ban on tree felling in coniferous forest areas above 1,100 metres. The national parks have already been established and staff taken on, but they now need equipment and more extensive training if they are to protect the areas effectively. Only once the park administrations have been shown to work effectively does it make sense for them to take on the management of even larger, previously unprotected, areas of virgin forest to preserve them on a permanent basis. Current estimates show that there are roughly 100,000 additional hectares of forest which could be integrated into the existing conservation areas in the coming years. 
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:
- In Serbia
- 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
- Virgin Forest Reserve in NP Biogradska Gora
- In Switzerland
- East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
- List of national parks of Slovakia
- Nearby villages
- Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe". whc.unesco.org.
- "Unesco approves the extension of the Carpathian Primary Beech forests".
- "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 2008-09-28.
- Beauty and changes of Primeval beech forests throughout a year