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Faggeta Rosso H

The Pollinello old-growth beech forest, in Castrovillari (Cs), in the heart of the Pollino National Park, was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 July 2021 during the working session of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Fuzhou, China.

The assessment report WHC/21/44.COM/INF.8B2.ADD states: "Pollinello has 477.94 ha. At an altitude of 2,200 m, extreme environmental conditions have resulted in a complex forest structure with highly variable individual growth histories, including the oldest beech trees in the world, some of which are over 600 years old. The named component has not been cut for 80 years".

The Pollinello beech forest grows, in fact, in a unique territorial context between the Pollino and Dolcedorme peaks, in symbiosis with the centuries-old Loricato Pine, and extends up to 2,000 m altitude, thus managing to withstand quite extreme climatic and environmental conditions. In this beech forest, thanks to the collaboration between the University of Tuscia and the Pollino National Park Authority, the oldest beech trees in Europe dating back over 600 years have been discovered.

To date, there are 94 ancient beech forests recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage, divided into 18 countries, and in Italy alone there are 13, two of which are in the Pollino National Park. They represent an exceptional example of complex forests, offering a wide range of ecological patterns and different types of beech trees under different environmental conditions. The European beech has withstood every glaciation of the last million years, surviving any adverse climatic conditions in the southern part of the European continent. After the last Ice Age, about 11,000 years ago, the beech began to expand from the southern areas to cover a large part of the European continent.

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