Wildlife management in the presence of Large Carnivores

Development of action strategies for forest owners in the presence of wolf, lynx and bear

Topic area
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain

Disaggregation level
Nature conservation
Environmental protection
SMEs, trade & economy
Risk management
Business management
Alpine pasture management & mountain agriculture
Animal welfare

Project region
Lower Austria
Upper Austria

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
01/17-08/18 (geplantes Projektende)

Project costs overall

Subsidy from LE 14-20

EN - 7.1.1. a) B Pläne und Entwicklungskonzepte zur Erhaltung des natürlichen Erbes - Naturschutz

Project initiator
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien (BOKU) - Institut f. Wildbiologie und Jagdwirtschaft

Short description

Wolf, bear and lynx return to Austria. Land managers now must ask themselves what effects this can have.

Project goal is the development of new strategies for an adapted wildlife management in the presence of large carnivores. For the first time an innovative approach is used to work on the economic impact of large predators: biological, forestry, economic and political components of the problem are integrated into adapted scenarios.

Based on the results, forest enterprises can develop implementation strategies that are specifically adapted to the individual farm hunting and forestry objectives and structures. By addressing the issue and developing scenarios, which also comment on the current legal and political framework conditions, the handling of large carnivores is to be overall optimized.

Point of departure

Wolves move into to Austria. It is not a question of "if" it happens, but only "where" and "how". Also, lynxes and bears appear again and again in different regions of Austria - where they sometimes stay. Regardless of whether the individual welcomes this or not, in the daily practice of forestry management it will be necessary to adapt to this. There are countries that already have more experience with large carnivores. But due to other hunting systems, ownership structures or management methods, these experiences are only of limited application to Austrian forest enterprises.
Therefore, a research project for an Austrian outlook was developed at the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Forestry Office (ÖBf). The Institute for Wildlife Biology and Hunting (IWJ) coordinates the project and is supported by WWF Austria, the Office for Wildlife Ecology and Forestry and the Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Economics of the BOKU.

Targets and target groups

Forestry enterprises have to ask themselves what effects the return of large carnivores can have, what conflicts there can be, and what adjustments may be necessary in the area support and management. As a result, a "handbook" with management recommendations for forestry operations for dealing with large carnivores will be available.

Project implementation and measures

Within the scope of the research project, the experiences, expectations and concerns of ÖBf employees and hunting customers of the ÖBf operations are surveyed through questionnaires. Existing management systems of individual operations are analyzed and possible consequences for deer management, conflicts during hunting operations and effects on business parameters are investigated. Based on expert workshops and literature studies, possible scenarios are being developed. Finally, the results are used to develop guidelines for forest enterprises.