Germany is home to 26% of the total distribution area of the European Beech. Numerous types of beech forest only exist here. Beech forests therefore represent a significant share of Germany’s biodiversity.
In the primeval forests of Germania, which were still extensive in Roman times, the European Beech was the dominant tree species. Beech forests were displaced by the advancement of civilisation. Today, they only cover a tiny fraction of their potential natural distribution area.
Beech stands and individual trees older than 200 years, and larger contiguous areas of beech forest are very rare. Remnants of near-natural lowland beech forests now only exist in north-east Germany, nowhere else in the world. Hence, by international comparison, the beech forest belongs to the critically endangered habitats of our continent, even though the beech as a species is not endangered at all.
German component parts include selected forest areas of four National Parks, Hainich in Thuringia, Kellerwald-Edersee in Hesse, Jasmund and Müritz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as well as Grumsin Forest in the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve in Brandenburg. These represent the most valuable remnants of large-scale undisturbed beech forests in Germany.
Germany’s World Heritage component parts are the most outstanding examples of the respective beech forest types worldwide. Each area hereby has its own specific characteristics and site conditions that make it unique and irreplaceable.