German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Project Profile: UNESCO World Heritage beech forests

UNESCO World Heritage beech forests

Nomination of the German beech forests

[Translate to en:] WNE Signet Welterbe

During a screening for potential German candidates for a nomination as UNESCO world heritage the German beech forests were already identified as appropriate candidates in 2005. A following feasibility study (2006) recognized suitable regions in Germany and recommended these areas for a transnational nomination together with Slowakia and Ukraine.


World Heritage Beech Forests in Jasmund National Park
Photo: BfN
Foto: Welterbe Buchenwälder im Nationalpark Jasmund

On 25.6.2011, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee confirmed the extension of the Slovak-Ukrainian beech forest World Natural Heritage Site (primeval beech forests of the Carpathians, recognised in 2007) by the German beech forest cluster "Old beech forests of Germany". This cluster comprises selected areas of the Kellerwald-Edersee National Parks in Hesse, the Hainich National Park in Thuringia and the Jasmund and Müritz National Parks in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as well as the Grumsin Total Reserve in the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve in Brandenburg. The decision for the nomination is based on the results of the feasibility study mentioned above.

With the nomination of the German beech forests Germany fulfills its special obligations for the protection of the beech forests in Europe.
For further information please refer to: UNESCO World Heritage Beech Forests official website

After the nomination of the trilateral beech forest areas in Germany, Slovakia and Ukraine as World Natural Heritage Sites in 2011 these countries were charged with the task to pursue their efforts and to identify further beech forests worth of protection.

Towards a European World Heritage Site

Primeval beech forest in Slovakia
Photo: BfN
Extract of a primeval beech forest in Slovakia

The study “European Heritage Beech Forests” aimed at investigating the potential for a final seral nomination of the European beech forests and thus to ensure the protection of these unique ecosystems.

In the course of this project especially the scientific, technical and organizational processes of a possible further nomination should be supported. To identify possible forests, areas that were proposed by experts or authorities were undertaken a screening in respect of the criteria to be fulfilled for a World Heritage Site nomination. In several expert workshops possible candidate areas were designated.

In 2015, 12 states decided to participate in the enlargement nomination under the leadership of Austria. The World Heritage Committee made a positive decision on the site's extension in summer 2017. The expanded World Heritage Site now bears the name "Old Beech Forests and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe" and now covers some 92,000 ha in 12 States.

Beech Forest on the Island of Rügen
Photo: T. Stephan
Beech forest on Rügen's chalk coast

Project management at BfN:

Section I 2.3, International Nature Conservation
Contact: Barbara Engels (


Abschlussbericht zum Erweiterungsprojekt "European Heritage Beech Forests"

Last Change: 23/06/2020