Iran’s Hyrcanian Forests Inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Committee inscribed Iran’s Hyrcanian forests on the World Heritage List in the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on July 5th.

The Hyrcanian forests (also known as the Caspian forests) are Iran’s second natural site and the 24th site in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Iran’s first natural site listed by UNESCO three years ago is the Lut desert.

The Hyrcanian forests, extended 850 km along the northern slope of the Alborz Mountains at the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, cover the provinces of Golestan, Gilan, and Mazandaran. These ancient broad-leaved forests date back to 25 to 50 million years ago and have survived from the last stage of the ice age on Earth. Caspian shores are warm and humid helping these plantations to survive.

These amazing ancient forests with remarkable floristic biodiversity make this part of Iran a green biology library. In fact, 44% of the vascular plants known in the country are found in this region that covers 7% of Iran. There are more than 80 different plant species living in Iran’s Hyrcanian forests with some rare kinds such as Beech (Fagus), Alder, Elm, Prunus avium or wild cherry. Hyrcanian forests are also the inhabitant of 180 bird species typical of broad-leaved temperate forests and 58 mammal species such as the iconic Persian Leopard as well as Persian ironwood known as Parrotia Persica native to the North of Iran.

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