Flagship measure: Maintain and improve protective forests

In order to withstand the effects of natural hazards and climate change protective forests require intensive site-specific care. Lack of care and extreme events such as avalanches, storms, forest fires or barkbeetles can ultimately destroy protective forests and render their effect ineffective for decades. In these cases rapid restoration of the protective effect is required.

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

Certified seeds and plants are commercially available in Austria (2022)

The needs and requirements are determined by the responsible research and trade offices. Once the stock of certified seed and planting material is known clear in-house production and market-oriented trade will be promoted. Where appropriate the public sector supports sustainable seed and planting material.

Climate-related forest typing for all site and object protective forests in Austria has been surveyed and the tree species composition suitable for the year 2050 is known (2023)

Existing forest-type-classification projects in Tyrol and Styria are completed. The responsible agencies draw lessons from the dynamic forest classification and draw up criteria and a roadmap for the whole country. Coupled with climate and environmental scenarios forest owners and forest authorities can draw important lessons for the future protective forest. The financing for forest-type-classification of protective forests on the basis of the digital protective forest map is ensured by different partners.

The event and damage database for protective forests has been launched and is available for analysis (2023)

The data status on extreme events and damage in protection forests, e.g. as a result of storms, forest fires and insect calamities is collected and supplemented if necessary. Clear structures and responsibilities should be ensured and the potential of digitalisation should be used. A nationwide protective forest event and damage database will be launched and maintained by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management with partner organisations and the Federal States.

Nationwide risk maps for forest fire, storm and snow breakage are publicly accessible (2023)

In a first step the criteria and indicators for the risk map for forest fire, storm and snow breakage will be drawn up. The scientific findings, remote sensing data and the collected local knowledge play an important role in this process. In stakeholder workshops the actors agree on how to proceed. After the data has been collected and centrally processed corresponding risk maps for the protective and mountain forests in Austria can be created and made publicly accessible.