Other virgin forests

Other virgin forests

Below I have listed some important old-growth forests that are not (yet) on this website. This is far from a complete listing!


  • Rrajca: European beech (Fagus sylvatica) – European silver fir (Abies alba) forest, also having Macedonian pine (Pinus peuce) 1. The strict nature reserve (21 km2) is located in Shebenik–Jabllanicë National Park. However, the entire forest area is not old-growth forest and a part of Rrajca is above the forest limit. Entry allowed only with a special permit and a guide.


  • Janj: Beech – silver fir– Norway spruce (Picea abies) virgin forest (57 ha).
  • Lom: Beech – silver fir– Norway spruce virgin forest (56 ha). Accessible only for research purposes.


  • Boubín: Boubínský prales. Beech – silver fir– Norway spruce virgin forest (47 ha). Over-browsed by deer although fenced (fence often broken). A hiking trail runs outside the fence.


  • Lemmenjoki: The largest national park of Finland (2858 km2), approx. 50% forested, predominantly Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Arctic downy birch (Betula pubescens var. pumila). In the southernmost part some past logging.2 Borders on Norway’s Øvre Anárjohka National Park (1409 km2, mostly arctic downy birch and barren land).
  • Vesijako: The best virgin forest (114 ha) in southern Finland. Norway spruce – Scots pine. Finland’s tallest native tree, a 45-metre Norway spruce, grows in Vesijako. Entry allowed only with a research permit.


  • Cheile Nerei–Beușnița: Beech dominated virgin forest on limestone with diverse mixed species. Cheile Nerei–Beușnița is 42.9 km2 including some semi-natural grasslands. Situated in a national park with the same name.3
  • Gemenele: Situated in Retezat National Park. The very steep reserve (16.3 km2) reaches from the beech forest of the valley bottom through mixed mountain forest, spruce forest and dwarf mountain pine (Pinus mugo) thickets up to the alpine zone and to the summit of Retezat (2482 m).


  • Vihorlat: Beech dominated virgin forest (28 ha). Inside a military area, thus not possible to enter.


  • Pečka: Beech – silver fir virgin forest (60 ha).
  • Rajhenavski Rog: Beech – silver fir virgin forest (51 ha). Protected since 1894.


  • Hamra: Hamra National Part is today 14 km2 but only the original part of 28 ha is in highly pristine state, 21 ha of which is Norway spruce – Scots pine forest, the rest being bog and water surface. Trail.4
  • Sjaunja – Stora Sjöfallet: Sjaunja Nature Reserve (2851 km2) has 580 km2 of Norway spruce and Scots pine forest and 525 km2 of Arctic downy birch forest. Most forests with pronounced old-growth character. Difficult to enter due to mires, rivers and long distances.5 Adjacent Stora Sjöfallet National Park (1278 km2) has 281 km2 of arctic downy birch and 26 km2 of Scots pine. A water reservoir and a road divide Stora Sjöfallet National Park into western and eastern parts. The eastern part is adjacent to Sjaunja Reserve, the western part is adjacent to mostly bare Sarek National Park.4


  • Derborence: Silver fir – Norway spruce virgin forest. 52 ha, of which 22 ha are forested.6


  • Maramarosh: Called also Maramorosh, Marmarosh or Maramures. Beech – silver fir– Norway spruce. 21 km2 old-growth forest. Being located in the border zone, entry to Maramarosh is possible only with a special permit.7
  • Uholka–Shyrikyi Luh: Said to be the largest (88 km2) virgin forest of temperate Europe (outside Russia). However, the old-growth forest is divided into two separate, approximately equal parts, Uholka and Shyrikyi Luh. The untouched part of Shyrikyi Luh is barely continuous7. Nevertheless one of the largest old-growth forests. Beech forest3. Recently some limited illegal logging8. Short hiking trails7.



  1. Knapp, H. D. Schroeder, C. & Schwaderer, G. (2014): Report of the Excursion to Ancient Beech Forests in Albania and Macedonia. EuroNatur Spezial 01/2014.
  2. Lemmenjoen kansallispuiston hoito- ja käyttösuunnitelma (2009). Metsähallitus.
  3. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1133/documents/
  4. Sweden’s National Parks (1998). Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
  5. Naturreservatet Sjávnja/Sjaunja i Gällivare kommun – Utvidgning av reservatet samt revidering av föreskrifter. Länsstyrelsen Norrbotten. 2011.
  6. Brang, P., Heiri, C. & Bugmann, H. (eds.): Waldreservate. 50 Jahre natürliche Waldentwicklung in der Schweiz. Haupt.
  7. Brändli, U.-B., Dowhanytsch, J. (ed.) 2003: Urwälder im Zentrum Europas. Ein Naturführer durch das Karpaten-Biosphärenreservat in der Ukraine. Birmensdorf, Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt WSL; Rachiw. Haupt.
  8. Pers. comm.