UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has declared the Lake District National Park a cultural World Heritage Site (WHS), according to criteria (ii)(v)(vi), which are:
(ii) to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
(v) to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
(vi) to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);
Clearly, it is the cultural value of the Lake District that is protected, not the natural one. Some are highly critical of this decision; for example, see this opinion post.
Does this decision mean that attempts of reforestation and broader ways of rewilding of the Lake District must cease, considering that it is protected in its current (i.e. heavily eroded and some would say “sheepwrecked”) form? Proponents of rewilding may hope the Lake District may one day look more like the Adirondacks (including top predators) than like the Lake District from English painters, but that sounds incompatible with the kind of protection UNESCO has declared.