The ancient beech forests of the National Park and the Sasso Fratino Integral Reserve have become part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. The decision was taken on Friday, July 7, 2017 in Krakow during the work of the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Commission, which decided to extend the recognition already attributed to the Carpathian beech forests to those of 10 other European countries. This way, the European countries with the presence of natural sites of old beech woods registered as World Heritage become 12: Italy, Austria, Belgium, Slovenia, Spain, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. The site, now called "Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe", was founded in 2007 on ten beech woods of the Carpathians, between Slovakia and Ukraine, to which 5 German beech woods were added in 2011, following the indication of UNESCO to extend the site to other European countries.
The area designated for the National Park includes the Integral Reserve of Sasso Fratino, the first Integral Reserve established in Italy in 1959 under management of the Carabinieri Biodiversity Department of Pratovecchio, for a total of approximately 782 ha and a large surrounding area of about 7,942 ha, for a total of approximately 7,724.28 ha: this is the largest site among those designated in Italy, and one of the largest forest complexes in Europe. It is thanks to the research of the University of Tuscia, coordinated by the Park Authority and the Carabinieri Forestali, that we know today of the presence in the Reserve of beeches at the limit of the longevity of deciduous broad-leaved trees over 500 years old, peers of the newly discovered beeches in Abruzzo and among the oldest in Europe, which brings Sasso Fratino into the top 10 of the oldest deciduous forests of the entire Northern Hemisphere.
As is known, access to Sasso Fratino is forbidden, while the surrounding area, also including stretches of ancient forests of considerable value and extension and also subject to UNESCO recognition, is accessible via the trail network of the National Park.
For further information:
Download the map of the UNESCO site in the National Park
Download the publication published by the Park Authority "World Heritage Ancient Forests"
Visit the page of the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Commission
Visit the UNESCO site "Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe"