The UNESCO has declared 8000 hectares of Italian forest World Heritage Site. Thanks to the country’s attempts at protecting the unique environment, the recognition feels like a gold medal. Italy has been declaring and establishing new nature and marine reserves to protect this fragile heritage from overtourism and exploitation. In particular, UNESCO mentioned the ancient beech trees of the Mediterranean, especially in Puglia.
“Italy is the protagonist of UNESCO’s network of forests, in every continent,” said minister Roberto Cingolani, “this shows the excellencies of our heritage, even the natural ones.” Italy received the positive evaluation on all the Italian forests it had proposed to the organization. Plus, UNESCO didn’t make any particular recommendations on preservation and conservation. Hence, the country is already doing a great job.
The Italian forests
However, Puglia isn’t the only region with ancient and unique trees. In fact, there is already the National Park of Lazio, Abruzzo, and Molise. Then, the cooperation with countries such as France, Poland, and Switzerland to extend this natural network of forests, making it an entire, giant, Mediterranean ecosystem. But also an Alpine one, like the Pollino reserve.
So, cooperation and conservation to promote and protect these special forests. From Emilia Romagna to Basilicata, UNESCO counts ten ancient beech trees forests, all worth mentioning. One of them is Sasso Fratino.
Sasso Fratino is a national park in the region of Emilia Romagna, in the center of Italy. This is the first integral, natural reserve in the country, established in 1959. Its goal was to protect the tiny pieces of forests that had survived the centuries -and to keep them intact. Instead of making this a home for people, the country decided to keep it a home for nature. This park is 784 hectares and it features trees of over 500-years, making Sasso Fratino one of the 10 oldest forests in the northern hemisphere. Not a bad record, indeed. While visitors can’t access the reserve, they can enjoy the park, thanks to the many hiking trails.