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Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe - extension (Tchéquie (la))

Date de soumission : 30/01/2019
Critères: (ix)
Catégorie : Naturel
Soumis par :
Permanent Delegation of the Czech Republic to UNESCO
Ref.: 6390

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The future nomination, which is subject of this Tentative List entry, represents an extension to the existing World Heritage property of the “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe” (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine, 1133ter). This property was inscribed by the World Heritage Committee first in 2007 as “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians”, extended once in 2011 by the “Ancient Beech Forests of Germany” and extended another time in 2017 by the “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe” to the present transnational site.

The future extension corresponds to the decision 41 COM 8B.7, where future extensions toward a finite series are noted. With this extension 37 component parts in 10 European States Parties add new values to displaying the history and evolution of the European Beech.

Together with the already inscribed component parts in 12 European States Parties the component parts of this extension will represent an outstanding example of relatively undisturbed, complex temperate forests and exhibit a wide spectrum of comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure and mixed stands of European beech across a variety of environmental conditions. They contain an invaluable genetic reservoir of beech and many species, which are associated with and dependent on these forest habitats.

Nom(s) de l’élément/des éléments constitutif(s)

Jizerskohorské bučiny/ Jizera Mountains Beech Forest National Nature Reserve - Liberec Region - N0 51 33.38 E15 7 59.17

Description de l’élément/des éléments constitutif(s)

The Jizerskohorské bučiny/ Jizera Mountains Beech Forest harbours the largest continuous European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forest in the whole Czech Highlands. The site covers 27 km2 and consists of a core area and a buffer zone: both form a National Nature Reserve. The former (9.5 km 2 ) was established by merging of 7 small-size Specially Protected Areas in 1999. By 1960, selective logging was applied there: moreover, since 1960, the core area has not been managed, having been left to spontaneous development. The buffer zone (17.5 km2 )  has been slightly managed since that time, e.g. by selective logging and some dead wood removal.

The site is located in the Jizerské hory/ Jizera Mountains (Liberec Region, northern Bohemia) and is situated on the northern slopes along an altitudinal gradient ranging from 360 to 1,006 m a.s.l. The climate is very humid because the Jizerské hory/ Jizera Mountains are the first transcontinental barrier of the humid oceanic flow from the North Sea. Annual rainfall averages range between 800 and 1,700 mm and the growing season lasts from 110 to 160 days. The average annual temperatures, which are strongly related to altitude, range from 3 to 7.5ºC. The uniform bedrock consists of a significant proportion of porphyric biotite granite to granodiorite, and the north-western portion is composed of coarse-grained porphyric biotite granite. Cambisols and podzols, the most common soils at the site, are strongly acidic and have high contents of poor quality humus with highly variable depth profiles.

Natural vegetation includes mainly mountain acidic beech-dominated forests and small areas of high­ elevation spruce forests. The main tree species in the reserve are F. sylvatica (79%) and Picea abies (L.) Karst. (13%). Acer pseudoplatanus L. (2.8%), Sorbus aucuparia L. (2.2%), and Betula pendula Roth (1.2%) are admixed throughout, and a few species, such as Larix decidua Mill. (0.64%), Fraxinus excelsior L. (0.19%), Abies alba Mill. (0.08%), and Acer platanoides L. (0.01%), occur only rarely.

Among plant species of nature conservation importance growing there, Polystichum braunii, Taxus baccata, Arnica montana, Dactylorhiza majalis, Huperzia se/ago, Lilium martagon ssp. martagon, Lunaria rediviva and Menyanthes trifoliata should be mentioned. The site also provides suitable habitats for long-term viable populations of wild animal species targeted by nature conservation, e.g. Astacus fluviatilis, Carabus ullrichi,  Carabus problematicus, Carabus auratus, Cicindela campestris, Oryctes nasicornis, Trichius fasciatus, Limenitis populi, Gnorimus nobilis, Phoxinus phoxinus, Bufo bufo, Triturus alpestris, Triturus vulgaris, Salamandra salamandra, Lacerta vivipara, Vipera berus, Ciconia nigra, Accipiter nisus, Pernis apivorus, Aego/ius funereus, Bubo bubo, Columba oenas, Lanius collurio, Corvus corax, Sorex a/pinus, Glis glis and Lutra lutra. Most of them are protected not only by the national legislation, but also by the respective European Union's law, namely the Birds and Habitats Directives, respectively the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the Bern Convention).

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle

Criterion (ix): The property is indispensable for the understanding of 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 largely undisturbed, complex temperate forests exhibit comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure and mixed stands of European beech across a variety of environmental gradients, such as climatic and geological conditions, throughout much of the European beech forest range. Forests are included from all altitudinal zones from the coast up to the forest line in the mountains and, furthermore, include the best remaining examples from the range limits of the European beech forest. Beech is one of the most important  features in the Temperate Broadleaf Forest Biome and represents an outstanding example of the re-colonization and development of terrestrial ecosystems and communities since the last Ice Age. The continuing northern  and westward expansion of beech from its original glacial refuge areas in the eastern and southern parts of Europe can be tracked along natural corridors and stepping stones spanning the continent. The dominance of beech across extensive areas of Europe is a living testimony  of the tree's genetic adaptability, a process which is still ongoing.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité

The selected component parts represent the diversity found across Europe in terms of different climatic and geological conditions and altitudinal zones. Inclusion of these components representing the variability of European beech forest ecosystems across these different environmental conditions contributes to the integrity of the property as a whole in terms of the full representation of the ecological processes that convey the OUV of the property. However, each component part also needs to demonstrate integrity at the local level by representing the full suite of natural forest development processes in its particular geographical and ecological setting within the series. All component parts are of sufficient size (> 50 ha) to maintain such natural processes necessary for their long-term ecological viability.

All component parts have buffer zones of various configurations including surrounding protected areas (national parks, nature parks, biosphere reserves and others).These buffer zones will be regularly reviewed to ensure protection under changing environmental conditions such as climate change. The boundaries of buffer zones are, where possible, aligned with existing protected area boundaries. Special emphasis was given during the zonation of the new component parts to ensure effective ecological connectivity between beech forests and the surrounding complementary habitats to allow natural development and adaptation to environmental change.

While the history of distribution and expansion of beech across Europe demonstrates an outstanding example of the re-colonization and development of terrestrial ecosystems since the last Ice Age, more recent changes in the distribution pattern of beech across Europe relate to direct influences of human disturbance and the more complex effects of anthropogenically induced climate change. To effectively protect the components of the property from negative influence, a comprehensive analysis of threats has been undertaken.
The Jizerskohorské bučiny/ Jizera Mountains Beech Forest study area shows a huge variety of old­ growth characteristics (e.g., density of large, old trees, structural heterogeneity, diameter distribution, and mortality), which is consistent with previously reporte studies on primary old­ growth forests within and outside protected areas that had never been managed or unmanaged for even longer time periods. The impacts of past management are still visible in the low amounts of dead wood, but the reserve is at the beginning of a long process of dead wood accumulation. As forest development progresses, the death of old trees allows for higher recruitment into the understory and it enhances the growth rates of the surviving trees.

Due to its outstanding values at national and subnational level, the Jizerskohorské bučiny/ Jizera Mountains Beech Forest was declared a National Nature Reserve (NNR). Pursuant to Act No.114/1992 on Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection, as amended later, the NNRs have to be smaller areas of exceptional natural values, where ecosystems important and unique on a national or international level are bound with natural relief having a typical geological structure. The site is located in the Jizerské hory/Jizera Mts. Protected Landscape Area, according to the above act, a large-size Specially Protected Area. At the same time, the Jizerskohorské bučiny/ Jizera Mountains Beech Forest has become a site within the European Union's ecological network of protected areas, called the Natura 2000. The site has been maintaining significant natural ecological and evolutionary processes, functions, ecosystem services respectively almost not influenced by humans and displays high ecosystem integrity. Therefore, it can also serve as a baseline for assessing naturalness of forest ecosystems of various types not only in the Czech Republic, but also across Central Europe.

Justification de la sélection de l’élément/des éléments constitutif(s) en relation avec la future proposition d’inscription dans son ensemble

In the selection process of suitable primeval and ancient beech forests in Europe, a classification system defining Beech Forest Regions (BFR) in Europe has been developed. Each BFR is characterized by its specific climatic and floristic situation and showing an individual history of postglacial beech forest development differing in time of first beech arrival and the different genetic ecotypes of beech, as beech was re-colonizing Europe after the last ice-age from different refuge areas. It is considered that a finite serial transnational European nomination will include candidates from all BFR. Therefore, the best suitable beech forest sites in each BFR have been selected to represent the different ecotypes and postglacial development processes in a most representative way.

Each component part within one BFR brings specific aspects and significantly adds additional value to the series as a whole. These specific aspects are shown in the following:

(1) the Jizerskohorské bučiny/ Jizera Mountains Beech Forest has been, contrary to other sites in the Subatlantic-Hercynic beech forest region, developed on granites and granodiorite. The fact has significantly caused the unique patterns in wild fungi, plant and animal communities/assemblages and their natural habitats.

(2) Adding the Jizerskohorské bučiny/ Jizera Mountain Beech Forest to the present transnational site as another very important stepping stone to the existing property will increase the connectivity of the existing component parts.

(3) Due to its history incl. natural succession, the site could be a study area for research on forest ecosystem integrity, health and resistance/resilience when seeking for general patterns in ecosystem dynamics.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

The comparison with similar properties has already been provided in the nomination dossiers 1133 (2007), 1133bis (2011) and 1133ter (2016).