Carpathian Primeval Beech Forest – natural heritage site

The Carpathian primeval beech forest and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany are part of the World Natural Heritage and it is situated in the Slovak Republic, Ukraine and Germany. This locality was entered in the List of the World Heritage at Christchurch, New Zealand in 2007 and it was spread by the territory of ancient beech forests of Germany in 2011. The criterion ix) was decisive for the entry. It means that the locality is a prominent example representing the ongoing essential ecological and biological processes in evolution and development of the continent, fresh water and marine ecosystem and groups of plants and animals.
These primeval beech forests are located in the north-east of Slovakia and extend to Ukraine, where they have got a common protective zone. Its area is 29,278.9 hectares. Together with the area of the ancient beech forests of Germany their complete area is 33,670 hectares. The Carpathian primeval beech forest contains natural assets of global significance connected with the presence of the beech (Fagus sylvatica) in this area.
It consists of a series of fifteen independent components, four of which are in the territory of Slovakia: Havešová, Rožok, Stužica (Bukovské vrchy mountains), Vihorlat, six are located in the territory of Ukraine: Čornohora, Kuzij-Tribušany, Maramoroš, Stužica (Užok), Svydlovec and Uholka (Široký luh) and five of them are in the territory of Germany: Jasmund, Serrahn, Grumsin, Hainich a Kellerwald.
Havešová: The Reserve in Slovakia stretches in the mountain range of Nastaz in the Bukovské Mts. between the municipalities of Kalná Ráztoka and Stakčínska ráztoka. The stands of the Reserve grow at the sea level altitude of 440-741 m. Numerous deep ravines contribute to its overall wild character. The beech trees here are taller than 50 m and their age is estimated at 220–250 years.
Rožok: The Reserve is part of the National Park of Poloniny; it lies in the Bukovské Mts. next to the village of Ulič. All developmental phases typical for the primeval beech forest are represented here. The average age of trees is 180–130 years and 180–210 years in the upper layer.
Vihorlat: It is an extensive complex stretching along the ridge of the Vihorlatské Mts. north of the Morské oko Lake. The beech trees growing here are as old as 240 years.
Stužica. The locality is situated in the Bukovské Mts. below the elevation point of Kamenec north of Nová Sedlica. Apart from 100-year old beech trees (Fagus sylvatica), more than 300-year old groups of firs (Abies alba), there are equally massive individuals of maple trees (Acer pseudoplatanus).
These intact homogeneous primeval beech forests of the mild climatic zone offer an example of their diversity in a close symbiosis with the environment. They illustrate the unique processes of surviving growths of the European beech forest in their diversity. They constitute an invaluable natural bank of the beech trees and numerous accompanying species depending on these forest biotopes. Simultaneously, they provide the image and example of recolonization and development of forest ecosystems and associations in the Holocene and the last Glacial Epoch. This process still goes on. Some specimens of record-breaking size grow here. Their trunk perimeter is extra large and the altitude of 58 metres is the tallest measured one of a beech individual in the world. The interior of the primeval forest and landforms on poorly resistant flysch rocks (in the wonderful Reserve of Rožok) are observable and admired by visitors. It also is the result of the permanent protection and conservation of the Reserves imposed here since the beginning of the 20th century.
The beech primeval forest also contains a specific flora with species like Viola dacica, Lilium martagon, Aspenium trichomanes, Scopolia carniolica and fauna, including, for instance, Bison bonasus, Alces alces, Canis lupus, Strix uralensis, Dendrocopos leucotos, Ficedula parva, Rosalia alpina and other species.