In 2011, the UNESCO World Heritage committee added five of Germany’s beech forest areas to the list of World Heritage Sites – among them the Nationalpark Kellerwald-Edersee. This added a German section to the “Ancient Beech Forests of the Carpathians” World Heritage Site, which had previously straddled the border between Slovakia and Ukraine. Together, these areas reflect the broad spectrum of the types of beech forests in Europe.
The beech forest in Nationalpark Kellerwald Edersee, southwest of Kassel, is part of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and stretches to an area of almost 1,500 hectares. The extensive, peaceful character of the national park's landscape is shaped by the many hills and crests. From above, the park looks like a sea of beech, the enormous old forests unbroken by roads or settlements. Again and again, hikers will stumble across views of the meandering Edersee lake. The dominant forest type is the luzulo beech forest, often with a bleak or stony character. Over 40 % of the beech trees are over 120 years old. Over 1,000 hectares hold beech forests that are more than 160 years – sometimes up to 260 years – old and rich in dead wood.