The action programme "Forests protect us!" is based on the Austrian Forest Strategy and is designed as an implementation programme. Following goals and principles are persuid:
- In protective forests the purpose of protection is superordinate to other functions.
- The public awareness for protective forests must be strengthened.
- Beneficiaries participate in an appropriate way in measures to safeguard the protective forest.
- The management of protective forests must get more attractive in the future for forest owners.
- Protective forests constitute valuable habitats for plants and animals.
- Research, monitoring and training extend the basis of knowledge for the necessary adaptations in protective forests.
- Sustainable protective forest management needs a common approach of all actors involved and an inter-sectoral political coordination.
- Protective forest management takes place in an efficient and impact-oriented way.
- Forest ownership and management rights are fully respected.
- An European protective forest policy is necessary beyond national borders.
In order to achieve those goals and principles a programme has been created to raise awareness and take action.
“1 Action Programme – 10 flagships – 1,000 projects implemented in the next few years – 1 million € for research – 100 million € for implementation“.
In the future about 30 million euros of federal funds per year are to be directly or indirectly invested in actions to improve and maintain the protective effect of the forest. The following additional key areas of action were set out:
- Legal certainty and planning security: The action program intends to provide an uniform geospatial mapping of the protective forest areas in Austria. In future the geodata will serve as a basis for planning and prioritizing measures in the protective forest.
- Visualise need for action: By coordinated prioritisation of the protective forest areas with higher need for maintenance necessary measures are controlled sustainably.
- Achieve Austria-wide forest typification: The implementation of a nation-wide forest typification on protective forest areas taking into account climate change and allows the development of a site-adapted treatment concept for protective forests.
- Regionalise planning units: It is a central goal of the BML to position protective forests as a topic of the regions for example also in the Austrian Spatial Development Concept 2030 (ÖREK 2030). Larger planning units e.g. in the municipality or the valley are to be handled by means of adapted advisory services and integral planning in protective forests.
- Integrate spatial planning agendas: The interlinking of the habitat-based and wildlife-ecological spatial planning with aspects of natural hazard management, of general and forest spatial planning, biodiversity, tourism and business administration must be coordinated across sectors. The bridge between general spatial planning and protective forests is to be built for the long term.
- Promote solidarity: The legal and economic framework conditions for forms of cooperation in protective forest tending between forest owners and beneficiaries must be established and implemented at the local and regional level. Examples include cooperatives, associations and contractual protective-forest concepts.
- Use innovation potential: Technological potentials are more strongly supported and tapped at the structural level for example in the fields of remote sensing data, digitisation or impact assessments of extreme weather events and climate scenarios. The introduction of new technologies in timber harvesting and the value-added chain in protective forests should be promoted as well.
- Public awareness of protective forests: Information on protective forests is prepared both nation-wide and for specific regions and is distributed in many different ways. People’s awareness of protective forests is to be raised and they are to understand that they represent a service of public general interest.
The action programme provides the starting signal for a consistent improvement and future-oriented development of the Protective Forests in Austria. The implementation must be jointly managed by the large number of stakeholders. The key element is a continuous dialogue between actors on federal level as well as in the provinces, regions and municipalities.