Project financed by funds identified under Law No. 77 of 20 February 2006 “Special measures for the protection and fruition of Italian sites of cultural, landscape-related, and natural interest, inscribed on the World Heritage List”, placed under UNESCO protection.

Unesco site - Unesco and beech forests

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Founded on 16 November 1945 in Paris, it seeks to build peace and mutual understanding among countries through the promotion of education, science, culture, communication, and information.

One of UNESCO’s missions is to set up a list of World Heritage sites, that is to say a list of unique cultural or natural sites whose protection and preservation is considered to be of outstanding universal value, according to what established by the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.

Besides monuments, historic cities, and historical and artistic elements, the World Heritage also includes landscapes, both natural landscapes and landscapes deeply shaped by human activities carried out for centuries. This is only logical. Indeed, landscape is not detached from the rest, since everything is framed by it: it would be impossible to think about Assisi, Gubbio, Massa Marittima or any other historic city in Italy without their green surroundings. Nonetheless, natural forests have been included only recently in the list of the selected and protected heritage sites.

The site Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe was born in 2007 and was further extended in 2017, with a total of 64 old-growth beech forests situated in 12 different European countries, including Italy.

To be inscribed on the World Heritage list, sites must be of universal, unique, and irreplaceable value as established by the Convention and, since 2005, they must meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. The old-growth beech forests meet selection criterion IX: «To be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals».