unique natural landscape with impressive history
- ca. 1.500 km²
- 3 Austrian Provinces
- the last primeval forests in Austria
- outstanding biodiversity
- internationally accredited protected areas
- impressive cultural heritage
- nature and culture as a great chance for the region
The project area is about 1.500 km² and is located in northern limestone alps at the borders of Upper Austria, Styria and Lower Austria. Wide forests cover a lot of the mountainous alpine landscape. The partially hard accessible landscape restrained spatial development of land for human settlement and forestry.
Therefore hidden natural forests could outlast – also the last primeval forests of Austria! In these hidden places an outstanding biodiversity and a lot of endangered species can be found – amongst them animals and plants whose habitats are worldwide only found here!
That is the reason for the high density of protected areas in the region. Three of them are accredited by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) as momentous international protected areas with their own management teams: the Dürrenstein Wilderness Area (IUCN category I – strictly protected area), the Gesäuse National Park and the Kalkalpen National Park (both of them IUCN category II – national parks)
The core of the so called Eisenwurzen region is located within the project region and has an impressive cultural history. In former times forests were intensely used for the iron industry. This forestry ended abruptly as the much more effective stone coal came up. Since those days nature reconverts the forests to natural habitats where it is allowed to do so.
Today many rural regions suffer from emigration of both industry and population to big cities. The unique landscape with its natural jewels offers great chances to the project region – nature and culture as a chance for the region.