Flagship measure: Investing in protective forests and managing them

The maintenance of protective forests requires intensive, time-consuming and expensive tending and regeneration which oftentimes cannot be covered by the income from timber sales. In order to make measures in protective forests more attractive new financing models have to be developed and the management framework has to be improved. 

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

Federal protective forest investment programme approved and financially secured (2020)

Over the next ten years the Federal Government will invest 100 million euros from the resources of the Disaster Fund in strengthening the forests with object protective function. Coverage is ensured from the current resources from the Disaster Fund. A working group of the BML and the Torrent and Avalanche Control in cooperation with the Provincial Forestry Directorates and the Federal Ministry of Finance will define and determine funding criterias. The implementation of the investment priorities will be based on the protective forest project outline taking into account wildlife ecology and hunting. The object protective forest-related investments will be implemented with area management projects.

Concrete action plans for the programme "Rural Development 2021-2027" have been presented, a funding system with bundled instruments for regional planning has been established (2020)

In addition to the disaster fund the promotion of site and object protective forests is also taken into account and pushed in rural development. Larger planning units and framework applications are targeted. Action plans from the areas of protective forest, nature conservation, wildlife ecology, water, infrastructure and climate adaptation are to be implemented. The reduction of bureaucracy is to be simplified through the bundling of applicants. Among other things, a funding system for integral and regional protective forest planning is to be established.

Expertise on new financing and transfer models for the protective forest is available (2020)

A group of experts has already been convened to structurally present the options for action to make protective forest management more attractive. A wide range of expert reports on new sources of funding and transfer models will be validated and taken into account. The study "Making protective forest attractive: manage - invest - manage" by  the Institue of Forest Economics of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna, commissioned in November 2019, will cover all legal and economic aspects and present recommendations. These will be evaluated with the responsible working group in order to present corresponding innovative proposals to decision-makers.