On June 28, 2007 the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Committee on its meeting in New Zealand adopted a decision to include the Ukrainian-Slovak nomination "Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians" to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage.Beech Virgin Forests of the Carpathians are now equal to the famous Yellowstone Natural Park, the Niagara Falls and over 160 other natural phenomena.
Pearl of the Carpathians - Uholka-Shyrokyi Luh primeval beech forest (Ukraine)
This is a transboundary serial site that contains of 10 separate areas located along the 185 km axis from the Rakhiv Mountains and the Chornohora Mountain range in Ukraine to the Bukovské Vrchy and Vihorlat Mountains in Slovak Republic. These virgin beech forests represent all stages of beech forests in their entirety, contain the largest remaining primeval beech forests in Europe and the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world.
Keveliv primeval forest (Ukraine)
Primeval beech forests of the Carpathians are the best example of this forest type and its associated ecological processes that still remains and are a significant parts of the very last remnants of Europe's original nature. These virgin forests are the best of the last:
2007 UNESCO WHS
Core zone (ha)
A few words
Uholka-Shyrokyi Luh (UA)
The largest virgin beech woodland in Europe with the tallest beech specimens in the world. 65 different forest communities across a range of environmental conditions, with beech trees up to 55 m in height and 130 cm in diameter and with a number of endemic and relict species, form this so called phytocoenotic core of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
Diverse beech forest communities and the richest flora in the Ukrainian Carpathians
Stužica-Bukovské vrchy (SK)
Perhaps the most beautiful pristine beech-fir woodland in the Carpathians (400 old fir trees with 1,8 m diameter and more than 50 m tall). A continuous complex of primeval beech forests comprising four forest preserves and parts of the core zone of Poloniny National Park, extending along the Slovakian, Ukrainian and Polish borders, and connecting directly to Stuzhytsia-Uzhok
National Nature Reserve
National Nature Reserve contains primeval beech forests on volcanic bedrock in military zone.
Protected Landscape Area
The first forest preserve was established in 1908. A part of the Uzhanskyi National Park containing mature beech forests, extending along the Ukrainian, Slovakian and Polish borders, and connecting directly to Stužica-Bukovské Vrchy.
National Nature Reserve
Diverse beech-fir-spruce forest communities and representative of what natural beech forests originally looked like in much of Central Europe
Mostly mixed beech-spruce and beech-fir forests in strictly protected forbidden zone. Since 1912 one of the oldest preserves in Transcarpathia has been established in this territory.
Oak-beech-fir forests remarkable because of their diverse forest communities and 35 Red Data Book species
Nearly homogenous, largely mono-dominant mature beech forests and the tallest and largest European beech specimens in the world.
Ancient virgin beech forests pure, ecologically stable and intact, cover extensive areas of these sites and include the largest virgin beech forest in Europe - the Uholka - Shyrokyi Luh massif in Ukraine. They are relics of forests that used to cover 2/5 of temperate Europe whose beauty undegraded habitats and immemorial processes are an important part of the continent's heritage.They are real paradise for fungi - about 700 species. Almost all species of wood-destructive fungi of Europe are distributed here.
Giant fungi in Shyrokyi Luh virgin forest
Autumn in Havešová primeval beech forest
Spotty salamander in Rožok primeval beech forest
The forest floor is very rich with early spring flowers growing here with high density. Fern species are rather diverse, too. Vast areas of virgin ecosystems help to preserve a number of animal populations which are ecologically associated with damage trees and dead wood, such as owls. All the European woodpecker species are found in these Primeval Beech Forests.Rare and endemic amphibian species are very common here, but these areas serve as a habitat for 73 species of mammals which is the highest number from all comparable World Heritage Sites in Europe.
Summer canopy of Stuzhytsia primeval forest (Slovakia)
The virgin forests embody freedom and the eternal beauty. So, from this point of view, they should represent an exceptional ethic and esthetic value.Thick candlelight trunks of beech trees make up a giant colonnade of a real temple of nature which admires us with its power, magnificence and ancient origin. Primeval beech forests exhibit the visual appeal commonly associated with old-growth forests that some believe, inspired European Gothic architecture. Wilderness and non-disturbance of virgin forests, precognitioned by total absence of any signs of human activity, presence of a great number of huge standing and lying dead trees covered with carpets of moss and beards of lichens give these sites a sense of an inimitable harmony of chaos and allows us seeing this beauty with the eyes of ancient philosophers.
Primeval beech forests of the Carpathians have the potential to become a real Mecca for a great number of naturalists from all over the world.
Short video documentary about Primeval beech forests of the Carpathians:
Movie created by LukZem during his multi-year visits to all ten nominated sites
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