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Beech Forests in Bulgaria

It is assumed that the extensive expansion of the beech in the Balkan Mountains began five to six thousand years ago.

It is in fact possible that the occurrence of this species in the region was to some degree facilitated by human intervention (local clearing of coniferous forests and the deliberate use of firewood) in prehistoric times. Forestry was introduced to Bulgaria in 1880, when the first forest nurseries were established, but it was only in 1905 that its significance reached a comparatively large scale. The Central Balkan National Park is the largest, well protected ancient beech forest massif in Bulgaria. The National Park's forests are composed of 71% beech, which accounts for 5.2% of Bulgaria's total beech forest area.

Ancient Beech Forests in Bulgaria

The 9 World Heritage properties of pure and mixed beech forest stands in Bulgaria are all located in strict nature reserves within the Central Balkan National Park. Compared to the other World Heritage properties in the same Moesian-Balcanic beech forest region, the bedrock in this beech forest region is composed of magma-plutonic, sedimentary, and metamorphous rock. They represent the whole variety of different altitudinal zones, from small beech trees on rocks at the tree line at 1,700 meters above sea level in the Sokolna and Peeshti Scali reserves to the beech giants with a height of 50 meters in the Boatin reserve. The latter is the only component part that represents the genetic diversity of the Moesian Beech (Fagus sylvatica var. moesiaca).