Discovering The Beaty of UNESCO Beech Forests in Bieszczady

The Bieszczady National Park is part of an international series of sites known as Ancient and Primitive Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Areas of Europe (2007, 2011, 2017, 2021). This series includes 94 sites in 18 countries, including the beech forests of Bieszczady National Park. These are well-defined forest complexes located on the slopes of Połonina Wetlińska, Smereka, the Terebowiec, Solinka Górna and Wołosatka.

The ancient and primitive beech forests of the Carpathians and other parts of Europe are an impressive representation of forest complexes. They are the most extensive ecological systems of European beech trees. Moreover, the region is a priceless reservoir of genetic material, not only of beech trees but also of many other species related to this type of forest habitat.

Since the end of the last ice age, the European beech has spread across the continent in a short period of time. It started in a few isolated areas in the Alps, the Carpathians, the Dinaric Mountains, the Pyrenees, and the Mediterranean basin. The success of this process, which continues today, is related to the beech’s tolerance of various climatic, geographic, and physical conditions and its ease of adaptation.

Please, read also my other article about most beautiful places in Poland. You will find there most stunning parks and forests in the country.

Beech Forest in Perfect Condition

As I already explained above, a beech forest in the Bieszczady National Park is part of a European site labeled „Original Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”. According to the World Heritage Committee, this site includes 94 areas in 18 countries. In addition, it includes similar forests in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, France, Northern Macedonia, and Switzerland. Previously, it included well-preserved beech forests in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Ukraine.

The Bieszczady National Park in the Carpathian Mountains is valued by naturalists for its preserved temperate zone forest complex, which covers a total area of about 3,300 hectares in the borderland, including the Smereka, the Terebowiec, Solinka Górna and Wołosatka valleys. This intact ecosystem is an important repository of genetic information not only for European beech, but also for the many other species that live in this type of habitat.

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The Carpathians have a unique diversity of beech forests that are invaluable for the understanding of the development and history of this widely important tree species. Beech is an important part of the deciduous forests of the temperate zone. It has a unique stratified vegetation system.

Bieszczady National Park is the third largest national park in Poland. Its most important features include the natural landscape of the Eastern Carpathians, many natural ecosystems of the Carpathian primeval forest, and numerous populations of large animals (including brown bear, wolf, and lynx), birds of prey, and well-preserved raised bogs.