During the 43rd UNESCO Summit, Hyrcanian forests were recorded as the second natural heritage of Iran and placed in UNESCO World Heritage List based on criteria 9.
During the investigation, the representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provided information on the Hyrcanian forests, its history, vegetation, and animal species. There was also information about the threats faced by the site, such as illegal logging and hunting. Unfortunately, parts of these forests are gone, and it is hoped that recording this natural heritage would be a useful step in protecting the Hyrcanian forests.
From the Hyrkan area in the Republic of Azerbaijan to near Astara, there are old and spectacular forests, dating to 40 million years. The area of these forests is 55 thousand square kilometers, two million hectares in Iran and 20 thousand hectares in Azerbaijan. In Iran, 53 percent of forests are located in Mazandaran, 26 percent in Gilan, and 21 percent in Golestan province.
The age of these forests and their unique plant coverage along with the type of the trees have made their global registration an attractive issue to UNESCO. There are 150 species of trees and shrubs in the Hyrcanian forest, that fall into the category of green summer or broadleaf forests. There are also 296 bird species as well as 98 mammal species, some of which are endangered.