The old-growth forests of Grand Ventron are situated in the north-east of France, in the heart of the Higher Vosges Massif, ranging between 800 and 1,200 metres of altitude.
In the largest (319 ha) strictly protected forest complex in the Higher Vosges, 350-year-old beeches coexist with 250-year-old firs and maples .
Historically, silvicultural activities were very limited due to the steep slopes and the history of the French-German border.
These old-growth forests are composed of fir-beech as well as pure beech forest, with maple at higher altitudes, and associated with maple-forest to a lesser extent. The component part was not affected by any loss of forest cover during the post-glacial recolonisation and successional process. Free from any visible traces of forest use since the last interventions ceased 70 years ago, these forests comprise centuries-old stands and exhibit a high level of naturalness.
Set on granite substrate, Grand Ventron benefits from a transition climate between modified oceanic and continental. It comprises three beech-dominant plant communities, spanning along the altitudinal gradient with a predominance of montane fir-beech forests. The latter are essential habitats for remarkable wildlife such as wood and hazel grouse as well as wolf and Eurasian lynx. Nearly 400 animal species are listed on the reserve. The connectivity, age, and biological value of these beech forests is evidenced by many species of lichen, fungi, saproxylic beetles and birds.
- UNESCO recognition: 2021
- Protected area: Grand Ventron Nature Reserve
- Beech forest region: Subatlantic-Herzynic
- Area: 257.09 ha
- Number of component parts: 1
- Altitudinal range: montane (800 - 1,200 m above sea level)
- Fauna: Eurasian lynx, Wolf, Wood grouse, Hazel grouse, Boreal owl, Eurasian pygmy owl, Black woodpecker
- Coordinates of the Central Point: N 47° 58’ 20’’, E 6° 56’ 23’