From 12-15 October 2017, 33 experts representing 12 European countries convened on the Isle of Vilm in northern Germany to discuss and further develop the protection of Europe’s beech forest heritage. The European Beech Forest Network association pursues non-profit purposes to promote science and research, environmental protection, landscape management and environmental education in connection with Europe’s outstanding natural heritage, the European beech. At the moment, the network supports 126 protected valuable beech forests from 25 countries.
The European Beech Forest Network delivered a Resolution to the States Parties of the extended serial UNESCO World Heritage property “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe” (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Germany, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine).
The Resolution expressed serious concerns that the “observed problems of unsustainable logging and forest degradation in the Carpathians, where the largest old-growth beech forest remnants are located, seem to have accelerated and aggravated in the last year.“
The European Beech Forest Network concluded that there must be a “concerted pan-European effort to safeguard the last old-growth beech forest ecosystems in times of rapidly growing global demands for timber and tree biomass.”
They participants of the meeting on the Isle of Vilm furthermore echoed the “requests formulated by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in their decision on the extension of the serial property, especially referring to conserving the functionality of the forests in the component parts and their surroundings, and implementing an effective buffer zone management.” At the conference alarming evidence was presented showing destructive logging in buffer zones and immediately at the boundaries of component parts of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Romania.
The experts and conservationists also ratified the Memorandum for Protection of the Primary Forest Heritage of Romania, which was handed over to the Romanian Government in April 2017.
The full text of the Resolution can be found here.