Austrian foresters obeserve Biodiversity

We care for our forests!

Topic area
Climate protection and climate change
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain
Environment, biodiversity, nature conservation

Disaggregation level
Agriculture
Education & lifelong learning
Climate protection
Climate change adaptation
Water
ÖPUL
Protected areas
Biodiversity
Nature conservation
Environmental protection
Air pollution control
Soil
Forest
Forestry
Knowledge transfer

Project region
Burgenland
Carinthia
Lower Austria
Upper Austria
Salzburg
Styria
Tyrol
Vorarlberg
Vienna

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
2015-2016 (geplantes Projektende)

Project costs overall
323.855,25 €

Subsidy from LE 14-20
322.957,65 €

Priority
EN - 1.1.1. b) Begleitende Berufsbildung, Fort- und Weiterbildung zur Verbesserung der fachlichen Qualifikation - Forstwirtschaft

Project initiator
Österreichisches Kuratorium für Landtechnik und Landentwicklung (ÖKL)

Short description

The project entitled “We care for our forests” represents an innovative approach to observing forest biodiversity. This project aims to encourage the Austrian foresters to personally experience the biodiversity of their own woodland.

The interdisciplinary project team takes up on the preceding project entitled “Biodiversity monitoring with farmers”. One major project aim is to preserve and restore biodiversity of the Austrian forests, by providing relevant information as well as by performing awareness raising activities.

All interested Austrian foresters will be informed about the relevant aspects regarding the Biodiversity in their own forests (importance of deadwood, small scale structures) by professional trainers during an intense business dialogue.

Point of departure

The type of forest management activity strongly influences Forest Biodiversity.  Both, the Austrian Biodiversity Strategy 2020 as well as the Program on Forest Ecology aim to promote and support the preservation of Biodiversity.

During a pilot project in 2012 several methods and strategies, aiming at the foresters’ sensitization for Forest Biodiversity, have been developed.

The foresters are encouraged to personally experience Biodiversity, by carefully observing their woodland.  The current project is part of the “concept 2014-2020” on monitoring Forest Biodiversity, which shall promote and support a Biodiversity-friendly forest management.

Targets and target groups

The activities aim to further the foresters’ understanding of Biodiversity, to promote a Biodiversity-supporting forest management and to facilitate the foresters’ acceptance regarding the environmental regulations in forestry.

The awareness raising process starts with a “Business Dialogue on Forest Ecology” performed by skilled trainers (directly in the forests). The farmers are invited to report their observations on a specific internet platform. Their commitment can be seen as a valuable contribution to the preservation of Biodiversity within Austrian forests.

Project implementation and measures

·         Performance of two upskilling programs for 60 trainers (forestry consultants, forest ecologists)
·         Performance of 530 “Business Dialogues on Forest Ecology”
·         Involving schools with focus on agriculture and forestry
·         Performance of a „Feedback-Workshop“ aiming at the optimization of the upskilling programs for trainers
·         In-depth training targeting 12 forest businesses (“service businesses”)
·         Delivery of training materials (“profiles”) for foresters and school classes
·         Development of the project homepage, where the reports on biodiversity (qualitative data) can be uploaded
·         Development of a new “reading tool”, providing additional information
·         Project implementation and further project development within an interdisciplinary project team

Results and effects

The formation of the interdisciplinary team can be seen as the foundation stone for this wide-ranging and success-promising project.  Hitherto about 58 professional forest ecologists have undergone the upskilling program and are now allowed to perform the “Business Dialogues on Forest Ecology” on site. About 435 forestry businesses, majorly located within the provinces of Lower Austria and Styria, have been participating. Their feedback has been positive so far. 

Approximately 50 forestry businesses have declared their interest in taking the role of the so called “Service-businesses”(as of 2017), in order to more actively contribute to the project.

The “profiles” (Steckbriefe) on the relevant topics that have been developed for the participants, are well received. Currently there are already 8 thematic profiles available (e.g. on deadwood etc.)

Erfahrung

To ensure the project’s broad-scale success there is a certain need to involve interdisciplinary team members and multipliers that totally support the defined project idea, as it might be difficult -especially in the beginning-  to communicate the controversial topic of forest biodiversity.

In this context communication, is one of the most important tools for the project’s success.