In 2017, the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe’ became the largest serial transnational WH Site in UNESCO’s portfolio, with 78 component parts in 12 countries. Alongside this spectacular recognition, questions arose on how to guarantee appropriate protection and sustainable development of these forests across the whole spectrum of included countries.
For this purpose, BEECH POWER recently organised a workshop with lectures on beech forest management in different European countries (Slovenia, Slovakia, Germany, Belgium). Topics included: cooperation between countries within the UNESCO World Heritage Site, ecology of beech forests, and different forest management practices in beech forests. The workshop organised by the project partner Slovenia Forest Service took place on 24th-25th March online and was part of the thematic work package 2.
Key to conservation: continuity in space and time
The event was opened by Janez Logar, acting director of Slovenia Forest Service, who welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of this workshop. Following, Miha Varga from the Slovenia forest Service presented to the participants a short comparison of current forest management situation and conservation issues in buffer zones of the project areas, namely Austria, Croatia, Germany, Slovakia and Slovenia. Caroline Celis from the World Heritage Coordination Office provided an introduction into the importance of the Guidance document for buffer donation and management as well as the common language used in the management of the property and the buffer zone of the World Heritage site ‘Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe’. Pierre Ibisch from the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development shed a light on the impact of forest management practices on forest microclimate. He explained the changes in landscape and how is it correlated with temperature changes and other environmental events.
Participants discussed forest cultivation practices and the creation of dynamic ecosystems with higher biodiversity level and better economic revenue in the Lübeck forest presented by Knut Sturm from the Natural Forest Academy, as well as in Slovenia by Aleš Poljanec from the Slovenia Forest Service. The first day ended with a presentation on he ecology and management of Slovenian beech forests by Andrej Bončina from the Biotechnical faculty of Slovenia, and the importance and value of old-growth forests from the aspect of research and biodiversity by Tom Nagel from the Biotechnical Faculty.
The second day participants learned about Slovak, Belgian, Slovenian and German beech forest conservation and management. Ivor Rizman from the National Forest Centre Slovakia talked about the status and management methods of Slovakian beech forests with special focus on buffer zone management. Following that, participants travelled virtually to Belgium to understand how beech forest buffer zones are managed there, presented by Frederik Vaes from Brussels Environment. Špela Koblar from the Slovenia Forest Service touched on the specifics of managing beech forests in the high karst habitats. The workshop was finish by the presentation of Susanne Winter, who gave a good insight into the conservation objectives and recommendations for beech forest management in North-Eastern Germany, and presented the freshly translated ‘Best Practice Handbook – Conservation in Beech Forests Used for Timber’