UNESCO World Heritage Site #204: Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany

UNESCO World Heritage Site #204: Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany

UNESCO World Heritage Site #204: Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany

From the World Heritage inscription:

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany are a serial property comprising fifteen components. They represent an outstanding example of undisturbed, complex temperate forests and exhibit the most complete and comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure stands of European beech across a variety of environmental conditions. They contain an invaluable genetic reservoir of beech and many species associated and dependent on these forest habitats.

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany are indispensable to understanding the history and evolution of the genus Fagus, which, given its wide distribution in the Northern Hemisphere and its ecological importance, is globally significant. These undisturbed, complex temperate forests exhibit the most complete and comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure stands of European beech across a variety of environmental conditions and represent all altitudinal zones from seashore up to the forest line in the mountains. Beech is one of the most important elements of forests in the Temperate Broad-leaf Forest Biome and represents an outstanding example of the re-colonization and development of terrestrial ecosystems and communities after the last ice age, a process which is still ongoing. They represent key aspects of processes essential for the long term conservation of natural beech forests and illustrate how one single tree species came to absolute dominance across a variety of environmental parameters.

This world heritage site is serial site comprised of 15 locations spread across three different countries (Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia).

The site I visited was Jasmund National Park in Germany.

Jasmund is the smallest national park in Germany and is only a 45 minute drive from the city of Stralsund. Oddly enough, although Jasmund is on the world heritage list because of its beech forests, its main attraction is its chalk cliffs which overlook the Baltic Sea.

Even though the park is small, there is enough to do to make for an interesting visit. There are many kilomters of hiking trails and the visitor center is located at the chalk cliffs. There are also local municipal buses which run regularly from the nearby city of Sassnitz. Jasmund also has one of the best interpretative centers I have ever seen. A significant amount of time, money and effort went into it. Audio tours of the center are available in German and English.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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