Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe - extension (North Macedonia)

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The Tentative Lists of States Parties are published by the World Heritage Centre at its website and/or in working documents in order to ensure transparency, access to information and to facilitate harmonization of Tentative Lists at regional and thematic levels.

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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

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.

Name(s) of the component part(s)

Beech forest Dlaboka Reka - NP Mavrovo - N41 45 06 E20 35 23

Description of the component part(s)

In the canyon above the village Zuznje on limestone stone is the beech forest which is very hard to reach named Dlaboka Reka (Deep river). The forest has very rich biodiversity and due to that fact evaluated by different experts it is pronounced as strict protected area even in the previous period, during ex Yugoslavia time.

Thanks to it's very hard terrain, as one of the reasons for having this state at the moment, human had no entrance in the forest and it can be declared as a virgin beech forest. This was proposed within the project “Strengthening of ecological, institutional and financial sustainability of the protected area system in Republic of Macedonia”, project activity “Development of representative network of protected areas” (MES, 2011).

This strict protected area is about 1800 ha represents the most important and the most beautiful part of the National Park. It is a complex of geological, relief, hydrography’s, floristic and landscape amenities. The area that should be nominated as natural property is about 164,5 ha and about 200 buffer zone.

Soil and climate here are favourable for beech forests which occupy the vast territories at elevation 1400-1.900 m above sea level.

The forest associations which are part of this natural property are Ass. CalaminthagrandifloraeFagetumEm and Abieti-FagetummacedonicumEm.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

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.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

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 initiation for nominating this beech forest as natural heritage is according to credible and truthful information of scientific work and it is fully supported by the PI National Park Mavrovo, and by the local community Mavrovo-Rostushe.

Justification of the selection of the component part(s) in relation to the future nomination as a whole

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 exotypes of beech, as beech was re-colonising 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:

The beech forest in the Dlaboka Reka are an excellent example from subalpine Beech forest ecosystem forming the timberline and are exposed to natural disturbance by avalanches. The occurrence of Abiesborisii-regis as an endemic tree species in the Balkan regions underpins the character of a glacial refuge area.

Comparison with other similar properties

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