At the 41st session of its World Heritage Committee in Krakow, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has inscribed 63 new areas of ancient and primeval beech forest in 10 countries onto the World Heritage List. Among them are two areas in Slovenia: the Krokar virgin forest and the Snežnik-Ždrocle forest reserve.
The Krokar virgin forest is an example of untouched primeval forest in the heart of the well-preserved forests of the Kočevje region, which is also part of the Natura 2000 network in Slovenia. The Snežnik-Ždrocle forest reserve consists of ancient beech forest with sections of primeval forest. Like Krokar, it lies within a larger forest area that is included in the Natura 2000 network. Addition to the list represents recognition for Slovenia and a commitment to further enhance the protection of both forest reserves and other beech forest ecosystems in the future.
The primeval beech forests of Krokar and Snežnik-Ždrocle joined the Škocjan Caves on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The caves, inscribed 30 years ago, were up to now the only natural monument in Slovenia on the UNESCO list.
Slovenia's beech forests will appear on the list alongside forests of already acknowledged outstanding universal value in Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia, which together form the World Heritage site Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany. The list is completed by areas in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Spain, Ukraine, Slovakia and Croatia.
Photo: Zdravko Turk