WWF supports beech virgin forests in Romania to become part of the UNESCO World Heritage list



Posted on 07 July 2014  | 
Strambu Baiut forest in Maramures
© George DinicuEnlarge
Bucharest - Beech virgin forests in Romania could be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list after a nomination process was started by national government bodies, WWF and Greenpeace. They have signed a protocol of cooperation for a period of two years, which is as long as it takes for all necessary procedures for the designation of new sites by UNESCO.

WWF contributes to the process with technical expertise. Its forestry specialists will collaborate in the analysis of the selected sites based on research in the field and will work closely with local stakeholders to achieve the necessary agreements. WWF also supports the process with 15,000 euros.

The nomination of beech virgin forests for UNESCO World Heritage list is an extra step to protect these national riches. We should not forget that several years ago WWF led a campaign to save the virgin forests of the country which was supported by thousands of people, said Csibi Magor, Director of WWF Romania.

Romania features exceptional samples of natural beech forests. They have not undergone any human intervention and are a true source of education and inspiration, which is of critical importance to the effort to improve the management of forests.

Luckily, beech trees are still predominant in the Romanian forests. These pearls - the natural beech forests – have to be not only well-known, but also appreciated by humanity - along with those people who have complied with their greatness and importance over time, said Costel Bucur, who leads the forest and protected areas department at WWF Romania.

WWF had a significant contribution in saving two of the forest areas proposed for nomination: Strambu Baiut - Grosii Tiblesului in Maramures and Sinca in Fagaras mountains.

Virgin forests are among these last areas where nature survives in its pure form, without any human intervention. They are stable ecosystems in which up to 13,000 species live. WWF believes that these forests, which represent 65% of the remaining virgin forests in Europe (outside of Russia), have a real heritage value for both Romania and the world.

In 2011 WWF led a campaign to save Romania's last virgin forests and to protect them legally. In record 33 days as many as 100,000 people signed the WWF petition. As a result, virgin forests are now formally protected by law. Their identification and mapping has started and a national catalog is under way.
Strambu Baiut forest in Maramures
© George Dinicu Enlarge
Sinca forest in Fagaras mountains
© (c) Mircea Struteanu Enlarge
Virgin forests have survived because of their inaccessibility and the low economic value of the wood coming from the old trees.
Virgin forests have survived because of their inaccessibility and the low economic value of the wood coming from the old trees.
© Mircea Struteanu Enlarge

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