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Slovenian beech forests join cross-border world heritage site

Krakow, 7 July - Two Slovenian beech forests have been added to UNESCO's world heritage list as its World Heritage Committee put 63 new areas of primeval beech trees onto the list as part of its ongoing session in Poland's Krakow on Friday.

Region of Notranjsko, SW
Beech leaves
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The primeval beech forests extend in ten countries and include Slovenia's forests Krokar and Snežnik-Ždrocle, the Environment Ministry said in a release on Friday.

This is Slovenia's second natural heritage entry on the list, after the Škocjan Caves were recognised as a piece of natural world heritage 30 years ago.

The other two Slovenian world heritage sites are the prehistoric pile-dwellings in the wetlands south of Ljubljana and the decommissioned mercury mine in Idrija.

The primeval forest Krokar is situated in the middle of forests in the southern region of Kočevje, which is part of the Natura 2000 protection area.

Snežnik-Ždrocle is a forest reserve below Mount Snežnik in the south-west and is also part of Nature 2000.

The World Heritage Committee today approved the extension of the World Heritage site of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany to also include Slovenia.

According to UNESCO's webpage, this site now stretches over twelve countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine.

The committee saw these forests as proof of an exceptional development and influence beech ecosystems had in Europe after the end of the last ice age.

"For Slovenia, becoming a World Heritage site is an important recognition that forest reserves such as Krokar and Snežnik-Ždrocle have been well protected. At the same time it entails a strong commitment to further improve the protection of both forest reserves and other ecosystems of beech forests," the ministry said.

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© STA, 2017