The majority of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Beech Forests are part of the Illyrian Beech Forest Region, a refuge area of utmost importance where the European Beech survived the last ice age.
Beech communities are predominant here, both in horizontal and vertical distribution. Pure and mixed beech stands cover 58% of the forest area: pure montane (29.5%), thermophilus (0.7%), and subalpine (1.3%) beech forests are complemented by mixed fir-beech (7.9%) and spruce-fir-beech forests (18.6%). The beech is the most widespread species of forest tree in the country, among almost 100 native forest tree species.
According to the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the competencies for forests and forest land management are defined at the entity level (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic Srpska) and the Brčko District.
Prašuma Janj is the only ancient beech forest site of World Heritage value in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is complemented by other nationally protected forests along the ranges of the Dinaric Alps: Plješevica, Jadovnik, Lom, Durmiševica, and Perućica. The majority of the Bosnian virgin forests represent vegetation of the altimontane zone on karstified limestone with a mixed spruce-fir-beech community. Peripannonian and epi-Mediterranean beech forests lack their primeval variants in comparison to the much better preserved and better studied Dinaric forests.