baumzaehlen - Primeval Forests & Their Trees

©2019copyright christoph hase

Boatin Strict Nature Reserve, Bulgaria


Boatin Reserve (16 km2) is a part of Central Balkan National Park and also a UNESCO biosphere reserve. In 2017, it was added to the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe World Heritage Site. Almost pure Opens internal link in current windowFagus sylvatica (European beech) forest covers 13 km2 up to 1550 m elevation1. According to the official national park information2, F. sylvatica reaches here more than 50 m. However, such trees have probably been measured using the tangent method, which often results in over-measurement3. Using a TruPulse 200X laser instrument, I scanned a good portion of the lower parts searching for tall trees in 2016. The tallest tree I found was only 43.5 m. Over 40-metre trees are abundant but the existence of a 50-metre tree is very unlikely.


Boatin is not as undisturbed as the biggest reserves of the national park, Opens internal link in current windowSteneto and Opens internal link in current windowDzhendema, which is understandable taking into account the easy access from the nearby villages. At lower elevations, there are plenty of multi-trunk trees forking at about 10 m suggesting the forest has been much lower in the past. Abundant burned wood on the forest floor indicates a forest fire in the past. However, there are no cut stumps.


Elevation ranges from 800 m to 1750 m. Slopes are predominantly north-facing, gentle to steep. A few marked trails run through the reserve.






3       Bragg, D. C., Frelich, L. E., Leverett, R. T., Blozan, W. & Luthringer, D. J. (2011): Opens external link in new windowThe Sine Method: An Alternative Height Measurement Technique. The Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Research Note SRS-22.


Official site:

Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest. Elev. approx. 1200 m.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest. Elev. approx. 1100 m.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest at 1100 m. The tree in the foreground: height 40 m, girth 403 cm.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest at 880 m. The tree on the left is 43.5 m tall.
Stream at 920 m. Fagus sylvatica (European beech).