Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
Spain, Inscribed in  2007
Criteria : ix

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

Learn more about the state of conservation of this natural World Heritage site by scrolling down to read assessment summaries.More details can be found by navigating to the "Full references" tab, where conservation issues, benefits and projects are cited alongside values, threats, and protection and management.Sources of information are listed under references.

Finalised on 7 Nov 2014
Conservation Outlook

Good with some concerns

This is a serial transboundary site comprised of 15 components located in three countries – Germany, Slovakia and Ukraine. While the values of the site have so far been relatively well preserved, the external pressures are high and increasing and the small size and isolation of the components do not necessarily guarantee the integrity of the property in the long term and preservation of ongoing natural processes which are the essential part of the site’s Outstanding Universal Value. The components of the site are influenced by the increasing development pressures, of which the forest resource exploitation in the Poloniny Natural park in Slovakia is of particular concern. Some progress has been achieved in improving trilateral cooperation with the establishment of a Joint Management Committee. However, the efficiency of the Joint management structure is still to be demonstrated.

Values

Low Concern Trend: Stable
Current state and Trend of values
Low Concern

World heritage values are maintained for the time being. The primeval forests are well protected and have been so for many years. The component sites of the property benefit from a high level of protection; however they are influenced by the increasing development pressure, especially forest resource exploitation in the Poloniny Natural park, Slovakia. The German components of the property appear under no significant threat, except that their small size might present challenges to maintain their integrity in the future (SOC report, 2014).

Threats

Low Threat
Overall Threats
Low Threat

Current threats are relatively limited and mostly located in the Slovakian part of the property. However, the pressures on the site are increasing and the size of the site’s components is probably insufficient to really guarantee the integrity of the site in the long term, as well as preserve the natural processes that are an essential part of the site’s OUV. In the Slovakian part of the property, logging occurs in the buffer zones and in the immediate vicinity of the property. The site is also under external pressures from socioeconomic development outside of but nearby the component protected areas (considered construction of new road infrastructures and tourism facilities) and from the various uses in the buffer zone. Other threats include wildlife management and unbalanced populations of mammals with some consequences on the natural forest regeneration.

Protection and Management

Some Concern
Overall Protection and management
Some Concern

All component areas have a high legal protection status. However, there are some concerns about the consistency of the legal regimes of the property as a whole, and specifically within the Slovakian part of it. Some progress has also been achieved in improving trilateral cooperation with the establishment of a Joint Management Committee (SOC report, 2014). However, the efficiency of the Joint management structure is still to be demonstrated. The overall management plan of the Poloniny NP, in which all clusters form Slovakia are located, remains of concern. However, upon pressure from the Council of Europe that awarded the Poloniny park with the European diploma, the Ministry of environment of the Slovak Republic, with support from the Ministry of land use and rural development has engaged in a consultative process to implement a set of measures seeking to improve the quality of the management of the Poloniny NP.

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Assessment Information
Finalised on 7 Nov 2014

Values

World heritage values are maintained for the time being. The primeval forests are well protected and have been so for many years. The component sites of the property benefit from a high level of protection; however they are influenced by the increasing development pressure, especially forest resource exploitation in the Poloniny Natural park, Slovakia. The German components of the property appear under no significant threat, except that their small size might present challenges to maintain their integrity in the future (SOC report, 2014).

Low Concern

World Heritage Values
Low Concern Trend: Stable

Undisturbed complex temperate forest
Low Concern Stable

The nominated sites are true “virgin”, primeval forests that are original in structure, have developed under natural conditions, and have never been subject to use or management (except for protective conservation measures). The evidence is not only visual (no cut stumps, soil disturbance, etc.) but biogeochemical (i.e. the carbon/ nitrogen ratio is markedly lower (10 times) than that found in natural, but disturbed, beech forests). (IUCN Evaluation Report, 2007)

Evolution of central European natural ecosystems
Low Concern Improving

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany 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 Ancient Beech Forests of Germany represent examples of on-going post-glacial biological and ecological evolution of terrestrial ecosystems and are indispensable to understanding the spread of the beech (Fagus sylvatica) in the Northern Hemisphere across a variety of environments. The site is 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 (SoOUV, 2012). The property represents all stages of beech forests in their entirety, contains the largest remaining primeval beech forests in Europe, the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world, and all the necessary elements essential for the long-term conservation of the various beech forest types and their associated ecological processes. (IUCN Evaluation Report, 2007).

Other Biodiversity values
Low Concern Trend: NA

Genetic reservoir
NA Trend: NA

Forest flora and fauna
NA Trend: NA

Threats

Current threats are relatively limited and mostly located in the Slovakian part of the property. However, the pressures on the site are increasing and the size of the site’s components is probably insufficient to really guarantee the integrity of the site in the long term, as well as preserve the natural processes that are an essential part of the site’s OUV. In the Slovakian part of the property, logging occurs in the buffer zones and in the immediate vicinity of the property. The site is also under external pressures from socioeconomic development outside of but nearby the component protected areas (considered construction of new road infrastructures and tourism facilities) and from the various uses in the buffer zone. Other threats include wildlife management and unbalanced populations of mammals with some consequences on the natural forest regeneration.

Low Threat

Current Threats
Low Threat

Current threats are relatively limited, but the size of the components is probably insufficient to really guarantee the integrity of the site. Logging in the buffer zones and reportedly also within the components in the Slovakian part of the property; external pressure from development outside of the property and from the uses in the buffer zone; wildlife management and unbalanced populations of mammals with some consequences on the natural forests regeneration are the major threats to the site’s integrity and Outstanding Universal Value.

Other
High Threat

Insufficient size to guarantee natural ecosystem developments (R7, R10, PI) Most of the components are relatively small, and are often isolated within largely exploited zones. The natural processes require much larger areas to guaranty the naturalness.

Hunting (commercial/subsistence)
Low Threat

Problem of natural regeneration exists in the German components (excessive browsing) (R9, PI). Development of introduced species like Dama dama for hunting purpose, linked to the absence of large predators (at least in the German components) has lead to a misbalance and a severe impact on natural beech regeneration. The large mammal's fauna has been largely modified with the elimination or strong reduction of predators and the introduction of game species.

Erosion and Siltation/ Deposition
Very Low Threat

The natural coastal erosion is a limited threat for the Jasmund NP component. (PI)

Potential Threats
Low Concern

There are some potential threats linked to the need of local population for development (unsustainable tourism development and logging). The most serious threat comes from the global changes with modification of natural processes and change in altitudinal range of natural communities.

Logging/ Wood Harvesting
High Threat

Illegal logging is mentioned but not proven (R 7); high timber demand exists (SK, UKr) and important logging activities occur around the component (buffer zones – R 6, R11). This represents a threat mainly for buffer zones but has an influence on the natural processes in general. Because local forest use in buffer zones presently occurs with cutting for subsistence needs, it is assumed this practice will continue. Forestry is important to local people but is managed by State Forest agencies (R1 – UKR&SK). According to the information included in the report received from the Council of Europe, the forest management plans of the forest reserves which form the Slovakian part of the World Heritage property provide for logging in those areas. The expert mission of the Council of Europe concluded that 93% of the Park is under serious pressure from unsustainable logging, as well as hunting and poaching (SOC Report, 2013).

Tourism/ visitors/ recreation
Low Threat

Potential development of ski resort in Ukraine (R6). Some tourism is present but numbers are small (R1 – UKR&SK) Number of tourist is very high in some of the German components but it is well under control.

Commercial/ Industrial Areas
High Threat

Several infrastructure projects (e.g. an antenna, roads and mass tourism infrastructures) are planned in the immediate surroundings of the Slovakian components of the World Heritage site (SOC report, 2013). Their potential impact on the OUV of the site is unknown.

Temperature extremes
Low Threat

Some forests at lower or higher elevation margins may change species composition as climate change occurs. One aspect of these properties’ value is the ability of the beech to adapt to so many different ecological regimes (and in a number of different and varying forest associations) throughout its range. (IUCN Evaluation Report, 2007).

Protection and management

All component areas have a high legal protection status. However, there are some concerns about the consistency of the legal regimes of the property as a whole, and specifically within the Slovakian part of it. Some progress has also been achieved in improving trilateral cooperation with the establishment of a Joint Management Committee (SOC report, 2014). However, the efficiency of the Joint management structure is still to be demonstrated. The overall management plan of the Poloniny NP, in which all clusters form Slovakia are located, remains of concern. However, upon pressure from the Council of Europe that awarded the Poloniny park with the European diploma, the Ministry of environment of the Slovak Republic, with support from the Ministry of land use and rural development has engaged in a consultative process to implement a set of measures seeking to improve the quality of the management of the Poloniny NP.

Some Concern

Protection and management

Research
Effective

Considering the long history of scientific research and established monitoring sites within the properties, they offer much value for science in monitoring the potential effects of global climate change. (R1) GER: Ecological research, monitoring and science programs are on-going guided by unit management plans and in cooperation with universities, EUROPARC Germany, UNESCO biosphere reserves, and nearby nature parks. (R2)

Monitoring
Data Deficient

DD

Tourism and visitation management
Some Concern

High number of tourists in Germany and potential sport and tourism development in Ukraine(R6) might represent a potential threat to the site’s integrity.

Education and interpretation programs
Data Deficient

DD

Sustainable use
Data Deficient

DD

Staff training and development
Data Deficient

DD

Sustainable finance
Some Concern

No recent data for UKR and SK The financing in Germany is provided by the parks' authorities. The four park units have established ranger forces for both park protection and education of park visitors (R2)

Boundaries
Some Concern

Boundaries are adequate (R1, R2), but components are sometime considered as too small (R2, R7). Despite the protection status of the buffer zones, they do not always fulfill this function. The ecological corridors could be further expanded. GER: Boundaries of the nominated components have been designated with a view to ensuring retention of values and integrity, however, the small size and relative isolation of these remnant forests raises some concerns about their ecological resilience and viability.(R2)

Implementation of Committee decisions and recommendations
Data Deficient

.

Management effectiveness
Data Deficient

Efficiency of the Joint management structure needs to be demonstrated. Germany: All five components have well-established, qualified and experienced professional and technical staff in place. (R2)

Management system (for transboundary/serial properties, integrated management system should also be described/evaluated)
Some Concern

Germany: All component parts have existing individual management plans developed in accordance with law and policy that meet national park (or biosphere reserve) goals for both management and monitoring. Plans incorporate monitoring of environmental parameters, visitor use impacts, and other resource issues such as managed control of wildlife impacts. Park management, biosphere maintenance and development plans are directly binding for existing programs and protection goals. In addition, there are management and spatial plans by the Bundesländer for regional spatial development, State Development Plans, Landscape Framework Plans, and so on, that incorporate park and biosphere reserve protection values and goals. (R2) Slovakia & Ukraine:The Slovak State Nature Conservancy, Polininy National Park, Uzhanskiy National Park and the Carpathians Biosphere Reserve now provide management and staff for the component areas of the World Heritage site. The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve has 310 staff, Uzhanskiy National Park has 110 staff, and Polininy National Park and the protected landscapes have 24 professional staff (including 8 rangers) between them and are supported by volunteer “nature guards”. Staff is supported by State Nature Conservancy officials of both countries and coordinates management of buffer zones, where necessary, with local forestry officials as outlined in the Integrated Management Plan (R1) The existing Joint Management Plan between Slovakia and Ukraine has been proposed for expansion to include the Federal Republic of Germany in an “Integrated Management System” that outlines the mechanism for trilateral cooperation between the three countries. The existing Joint Management Plan is comprehensive and could serve as a model because so many levels of government, management agencies, communities and interest groups are included. The agreement has not yet been fully realized due to changing political conditions and the fact that it has been in effect only for a few years, but there is continued cooperation on the ground at the committee levels. (R2)

Integration into regional and national planning systems (including sea/landscape connectivity)
Effective

All components are also protected under other designations and a part of regional networks.

Legal framework
Effective

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany is a serial property comprising 15 components. The legal framework for the components themselves is adequate. UKR & SK: The component areas in the Ukraine are all part of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, the Uzhanskiy National Park, or the trilateral (with Poland and Slovakia) East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve. They have had protection in some instances for over 100 years with increasing protection from legislation and national decrees since the 1920’s. The situation is similar in the Slovakia with the component aras being part of either Polininy National Park or protected landscapes (Vihorlat Protected Landscape Area). In terms of their legal status and management regime all the sites are equivalent to IUCN Category I or II protected areas. The surrounding buffer zones (considered as part of the joint Management Plan) are a mixture of Category I, II and VI protected areas. There have also been efforts to establish ecological “connecting corridors” that are all within protected forests or existing national parks, biosphere reserves or other protected areas, with a minimum level of protection equivalent to IUCN Category VI protected areas. There are ongoing efforts to further protect these connecting corridors in the Ukraine (through national park designation). The five components in the German part of the property are subject to national law and are also governed by the Bundesländer that make up the Federal Republic of Germany. Both governmental entities share responsibility for nature conservation protection. The component parts are protected by the Federal Nature Conservation Act (2002, amended 2008) that specifically incorporates by reference the World Heritage Convention. The Grumsin component is also a Biosphere Reserve. (R2) However, there are some concerns regarding the enforcement and consistency of protection regime of different components.

Relationships with local people (including stakeholder relationships, participatory management, rights, and access to benefits and equity)
Some Concern

Populations in the regions are rural and unemployment is high. Out-migration appears to be prevalent as people seek jobs elsewhere. Because local forest use in buffer zones presently occurs with cutting for subsistence needs, it is assumed this practice will continue. Forestry is important to local people. Lack of consultation with local people might be a problem in some areas (R1 – UKR & SK; R8). Various programmes and initiatives are in place to ensure local community engagement. The protected area management entities also have advisory boards or communal national park boards composed of interest group representatives, elected officials (mayors), district administrators, ministerial representatives, and park staff to help reconcile the interests of local stakeholders and citizens. (R2)

Overall assessment of protection and management

Assessment of the effectiveness of protection and management in addressing threats outside the site
Some Concern

Despite the protection status of the buffer zones, they do not always fulfill this function. Moreover there is direct and indirect pressure on the components from activities in the buffer zones and in the whole region.

Overall assessment of protection and management
Some Concern

All component areas have a high legal protection status. However, there are some concerns about the consistency of the legal regimes of the property as a whole, and specifically within the Slovakian part of it. Some progress has also been achieved in improving trilateral cooperation with the establishment of a Joint Management Committee (SOC report, 2014). However, the efficiency of the Joint management structure is still to be demonstrated. The overall management plan of the Poloniny NP, in which all clusters form Slovakia are located, remains of concern. However, upon pressure from the Council of Europe that awarded the Poloniny park with the European diploma, the Ministry of environment of the Slovak Republic, with support from the Ministry of land use and rural development has engaged in a consultative process to implement a set of measures seeking to improve the quality of the management of the Poloniny NP.

Best Practice Examples

Additional Information

Key Conservation Issues

Issues

Wood extraction
Local

Control of logging in and around the components

Wildlife management
Local

Threat to natural regeneration of the vegetation and unbalanced animal populations; lack of predators (GER)

Sport and tourism
Local

Development of infrastructures; high concentration of visitors

Benefits

Nature conservation values

data deficient

Projects

Active Conservation Projects

N0 Organization/ individuals Brief description of Active Projects Contact Details
1 . . .

Compilation of potential project needs

N.O0 Organization/ individuals Brief description of Active Projects Contact Details
Data is not available
Rn0 References
1 IUCN Evaluation report 2007 (UKR + SK)
2 IUCN Evaluation report 2011 (GER)
3 Comparative analysis 2011
4 Committe Decision 2007 (UKR + SK)
5 Committe Decision 2011 (GER)
6 CoE report 2011 (H. Lethier)
7 Confidential comment, 2012
8 Comment Mankind in Harmony with Nature
9 Personal communication

Site Description

This transboundary extension of the World Heritage site of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany (Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine) now stretches over 12 countries. Since the end of the last Ice Age, European beech spread from a few isolated refuges in the Alps, Carpathians, Mediterranean and Pyrenees over a short period of a few thousand years in a process that is still ongoing. This successful expansion is related to the tree’s flexibility and tolerance of different climatic, geographical and physical conditions.

ⓒ UNESCO