Five designated conservation areas represent the most important expanses of unspoilt beech forest remaining in Germany.
These huge wooded areas can be found in the Jasmund and Müritz national parks in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Grumsin Forest in Brandenburg, Kellerwald-Edersee National Park in Hessen and Hainich National Park in Thuringia. They are part of the ancient beech forests that covered 40 per cent of mainland Europe 6,500 years ago, and are an extension to the 'Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians', an existing World Heritage property in Slovakia and the Ukraine. The different locations and environments illustrate the ecological and geographical history of beech forests in the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere.
Unspoilt lowland beech forests at elevations of just over 600 metres above sea level are found nowhere in the world but Germany. Many of the trees are centuries old. Their dead wood and natural hollows offer ideal habitats for bats, hole-nesting birds and other animals, and thereby promote biodiversity. The beech forests are home to around 10,000 different species of animals, plants and fungi.
Walkers and nature lovers will find a peaceful haven here and can appreciate the forest from above on treetop walkways.