Nomination of European Beech Forests as UNESCO World Natural Heritage
Extension of the UNESCO World Heritage "Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Ancient Beech Forests of Germany"
The Europe-wide establishment of a serial World Heritage property is a great challenge for all the states involved, since certain requirements have to be met.
The German Federal Ministry of the Environment, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation together with the University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde supported an exemplary research project to find eligible forests across the whole of Europe. Forty-six areas in 20 countries were identified as possible additions with the help of international experts.
Following on from this pre-selection process, which looked at the size of the area, the age of the trees, natural growth and integrity, a number of sites were selected which fulfil UNESCO’s criterion ix „ongoing ecological and biological processes“, because of their genetic, climatic or geographical differences. In addition, they were deemed to have sufficient protection and adequate management. As well as these technical requirements for inclusion, the respective states must show a willingness to conserve these beech forests in accordance with the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.
After six workshops with experts and three intergovernmental meetings, Ukraine and ten additional states proposed together 31 new areas and have agreed to participate in the extended nomination “European Beech Forests“ when they inscribed the areas in their national tentative lists before 1 February 2015.
The nomination dossier must be formally submitted before 1 February 2016, and a decision by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee can be expected by June 2017 at the earliest.