Project programme: Interreg Central Europe
Project title: World heritage BEECH Forests: emPOWERing and catalyzing an ecosystem-based Sustainable Development

Project acronym: BEECH POWER

Project index number: CE1340

Lead partner organisation: Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Germany

Project partners: European Wilderness Society, Austria; Kalkalpen National Park, Austria; Angermünde City Administration, Germany; Slovenia Forest Service, Slovenia; National Forest Centre, Slovakia; PubliC Institution Paklenica National Park, Croatia

Associated partners: Austrian Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism; Ministry of Rural Development, Austria; Environment and Agriculture of the Federal State of Brandenburg, Germany; CEEweb for Biodiversity, Hungary; State Nature Conservancy of Slovak Republic, Slovakia; Hainich National Park, Germany; Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin, Germany; Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Slovenia; Municipality Loška dolina, Slovenia; Municipality Kočevje, Slovenia; European Beech Forest Network e.V., Germany; World Natural Heritage Beech Forest Grumsin e.V., Germany; Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic; Slovakia; Municipality of Starigrad, Croatia

Short description of the project: The UNESCO World Heritage (WH) Site „Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe“ represents the most complex transnational serial natural site in the UNESCO portfolio – comprising 78 component parts in 45 protected areas (PAs) in 12 countries. The programme area shares almost 25% of the components parts distributed in 5 countries (AT, DE, HR, SK and SI). While local management units of the component parts face similar challenges, i.e. concerning buffer zone management, the respective environmental and socio-economic contexts differ considerably on local and national level. The project takes an ecosystem-based and participatory approach working on different administrative levels to anchor the WH site in sustainable regional development and produce replicable and innovative models for WH beech forests and their local surroundings.

The main objective: The main project objective is to improve management quality and effectiveness of the WH site to safeguard the ecosystem integrity of the single componentoarts by improving capacities and active participation possibilities of relevant stakeholders.

The main project outputs: The main outputs are guidelines and strategies for stakeholder participation and regional development, a handbook for buffer zone management, recommendations for visitor management, a communication concept and a Beech Forest Quality Standard that support protected area administrations, public authorities and actors from civil society in their daily work. The results will be applicable for other WH component parts outside the programme area

The main project elements: Empowering World Heritage Beech communities as model for ecosystem-based sustainable development; Creation of a sustainable model for buffer zone management around World Heritage Beech forests; Development of an exemplary European Beech Forest Quality Standard and Certification System; Communication.

Total project budget: 1.864.328,98 EUR

ERDF Co-financing: 1.525.058,32 EUR

Project implementation period: 1.4.2019 – 31.3.2022

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