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Logo - World Heritage Beech Forests
Unesco - We are Europe's Wilderness - Ancient and Primeval Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
Unesco - We are Europe's Wilderness - Ancient and Primeval Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

Czech Republic

Beech Forests in the Czech Republic

Beech forests in the Czech Republic belong to both the Subatlantic-Hercynic and the Carpathian beech forest regions, the latter located in the eastern part of the country.

Beech forests had originally covered approximately 40% of the country’s territory. From the Middle Ages onwards, they were disturbed by deforestation and grazing. Affected forest sections were mostly replaced with Norway spruce, also in form of plantations. As a consequence, old-growth beech forests only remain in areas such as the Moravian Carpathians (for example in the Chřiby Hills and the Bílé Karpaty, the White Carpathians) or in less accessible areas (the Jizerskohorské bučiny/Jizera Mountains Beech Forest). At present, beech stands cover 2,303 square kilometres, i.e. 8.8% of the total Czech forest area.

As the Czech Republic has been trying to strictly protect primary and old-growth forests wherever it is possible within the current legal framework, most of the valuable beech forests have been protected as Specially Protected Areas. This includes large-scale categories, such as National Parks and Protected Landscape Areas, as well as small-scale protected areas of at least national importance, such as National Nature Reserves or National Nature Monuments. In some of them, protection is enhanced by zoning: the Jizerskohorské bučiny/Jizera Mountains Beech Forest, for example, is a National Nature Reserve within Zone I (the strictest protection zone) of the Protected Landscape Area. Some of these valuable beech forests also became part of the EU Natura 2000 network in the Czech Republic.