Flagship measure: Observing and exploring protective forests

Comprehensive knowledge about the structural and site-specific requirements of protective forest management requires applied and adequately funded research. This includes topics such as forest ecosystems, forest technology, forest genetics, forest bioclimatology and forest hydrology as well as risk management.

The milestones and their implementation year (in parentheses) in this flagship measure:

The protective forest research programme is established and basic financing has been secured (2021).

As a first step relevant research institutions and universities will prepare a status report on protective forest research in Austria. This document will define open research questions and necessary recommendations.

In addition it is important to consider ongoing projects in the forest sector such as forest type classification or new research in genetics. The synopsis of protective forest research provides a suitable basis for increased research activities and can be considered in basic funding of public institutions.

The Protective Forest Hub in Traunkirchen and a teaching and research protective forest have been set up (2020).

Together with central partners such as the Austrian Federal Forests, the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna and the Federal Forest Research Center, a protective forest hub is to be established at the forest campus in Traunkirchen. On the one hand the focus is on education and training for forest owners and forest workers. On the other hand knowledge and activities will be bundled there to create a central institution for protective forest issues.

The topic of protective forests has been established in international research programmes (2022).

Forests around the world perform important functions in erosion control, natural hazard management and water balance. Climatic and societal changes pose challenges to the various ecosystem services provided by forests everywhere.

The protective forest should therefore be established as a research field in international and especially European research programs. In the future many funding programs such as LIFE, HORIZON and others should be used more intensively to create the necessary knowledge for stable protective forest areas.

The first call of the protective forest research programme has been published (2022).

The relevant partner organizations and institutions have recognized the important issues of protective forest research. Appropriate funding should be secured and made available to eligible agencies. An important platform for communication is www.protective-forest.at.