The protection of old-growth European beech forests was a long process that stretched over several decades. In the newly published website, you can learn about the incredible story of expansion of the European beech, and the great value of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
The story about the European beech forests begins 12.000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age. Starting from a few isolated ice-free refuge areas, the European beech expanded to almost the whole continent thanks to its enormous competitiveness. A unique phenomenon in the world! However, human intervention has caused the natural European beech forests to largely disappear. Such is the case that today, primeval and old-growth beech forests are extremely rare and they are endangered. Therefore, it became necessary to actively protect the last untouched and nearly untouched beech forests in Europe. Thus, in 2007 the UNESCO World Heritage Committee designated these ecosystems in Slovakia and Ukraine as a World Natural Heritage. Today, the World Heritage property of European beech forests includes a total of 41 protected areas within 12 European countries.