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Austria's forests examined as an intervention against the climate crisis

Austria's forests examined as an intervention against the climate crisis

The Ministry of Environment presented a model of an integrated ecologically oriented forest management

On Monday, 17 May 2021, the Austrian Ministry of the Environment presented a model of integrated, ecologically oriented forest management and is working on a strategy to preserve biodiversity. During a local inspection in the Vienna Woods, climate protection minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) and Bundesforste board member Rudolf Freidhager stated that ecology and economy are not mutually exclusive.

“Our diversity in nature is our life insurance. It is the basis for our food, our building materials, our medicine and a valuable recreational space for us humans. An intact forest also stores valuable CO2 and is therefore essential in the fight against the climate crisis," emphasised Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler. As a result, the Ministry of Environment is now hard at work on the Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

Suitable measures for each area

Furthermore, as part of the “Ecological Landscape Management” programme, the Austrian Federal Forests want to create their own eco-plans for each of the 120 managed areas. According to Federal Forests Board Member Rudolf Freidhager, these could help to increase the diversity of plants, ecosystems, and genetic diversity.

Numerous nature protection initiatives will be applied and incorporated into everyday work on an area of 850,000 hectares over the next few years, ranging from woods and meadows to woodland margins, moors, and waterways. Furthermore, the forests are to be managed profitably and practically. “The aim is integrated forest management. Because intact forest ecosystems and sustainably managed forests play a key role in the fight against climate change," shared Freidhager.

The initiative aims to examine all forest federal districts for nature conservation characteristics. Then appropriate measures will be devised for each location. "We record which special animal and plant species occur and which rare habitats, forest communities or natural monuments are present in a district," commented Christina Laßnig-Wlad, head of natural space management.

Eco plans have already been established for approximately 30 forest areas, with another ten in the works. By the end of 2021, such eco-plans will exist for more than a third of all our regions - well over 300,000 hectares.

Over the next few years, plans for all other forest districts will be created. The plans will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure proper implementation. It is critical that the interventions be effectively incorporated into ongoing forest management.

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