World Natural Heritage Beech Forests

At its 35th session in Paris on 25 June 2011, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe the "Ancient Beech Forests of Germany" as an extension of the World Heritage property "Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians" in UNESCO's World Heritage List.

In doing so UNESCO has recognised the outstanding universal value of the European beech forests, an ecosystem that has defined the character of a whole continent in a way that is globally unique.

Beech forests on UNESCO's World Heritage List


Map: Location of World Heritage Areas; green area: natural expansion of beech forests in Europe
Location of World Heritage sites; green area: natural distribution of beech forests in Europe

Trilateral Cooperation

In July 2007, the World Heritage Committee inscribed the “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians” (Slovak Republic, Ukraine) as a natural heritage property on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Following this tremendous initial success, the next step was to have the Slovak-Ukrainian World Natural Heritage property extended to include a cluster of beech forests in Germany.

This required the consent of both partner countries as well as a large number of trilateral agreements before Germany was able to submit its application. The first trilateral meeting took place on the Isle of Vilm in Germany back in May 2007, at which the parties agreed to intensify their trilateral cooperation on UNESCO World Natural Heritage, and to focus their attention in particular on the aspired trilateral beech forest world heritage property.

This was followed by a series of further meetings, including one at the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine, whose beech forests belong to a World Heritage property, together with those of Havesová in the Slovak Republic, which was also visited by delegates.

The trilateral meetings represented an important step in the nomination process to add areas of outstanding beech forest in Germany to the Primeval Beech forests of the Carpathians.

One of the most important outcomes of these meetings were concrete agreements on the management of the aspired tri-national property. As partners to this transnational world natural heritage property, we have made a joint undertaking to conserve it. Trilateral cooperation will therefore continue to play an important role in the future.