The Bois du Chapitre – Petit Buëch beech-fir forest is one of the most remarkable near-natural forests of the Southern Alps.
The Petit-Buëch biological strict reserve is located at the southwestern end of the Alpic Beech Forest Region within the Prealps sub-domain. This old-growth forest is evolving naturally, having been without human interventions for 70 to 100 years, allowing for a remarkable richness in monumental trees, deadwood, and associated species.
Spanning between altitudinal ranges from 1,250 m to 2,060 m, the forest comprises two bioclimatic levels: the pure beech forest covers the alpine levels at the southern end of this ensemble, whereas the beech-fir forest dominates at montane and subalpine levels. Forest habitats in the component part can be considered to have reached a climax phase. In other areas where the slopes are rather steep, the vegetation is frequently regenerated due to landform (steep slopes, rocky debris) and climate (avalanches, torrential rain).
The Forest hosts remarkable species, typical of Southern Alps beech-fir forests, such as Buxbaumia viridis, a moss that is typical of fir woods with decomposed and moist deadwood.
The site boasts a great richness in saproxylic beetles, with Ropalopus insubricus, Ampedus erythrogonus, Ampedus nigrinius, Xylophilus corticalis, and Rosalia alpina, the Alpine longhorn beetle. Furthermore, 91 bird species, both breeding and migrating, are living in, or visiting this forest.
- UNESCO recognition: 2021
- Protected area: Petit-Buëch biological strict reserve
- Beech forest region: Alpic
- Area: 371.30 ha
- Number of component parts: 1
- Altitudinal range: montane (1.250 - 2.060 m above sea level)
- Fauna: Eurasian eagle-owl, Mouse-eared bat, Boreal owl, Ortolan, Geoffroy's bat
- Coordinates of the Central Point: N 44° 38’ 4’’, E 5° 59’ 55’’
La réserve biologique intégrale du Bois du Chapitre