nature and culture as a chance for the region
objectives of the project:
- develop and implement strategies for the compound of biotopes
- initiate a cooperation committee
- increase awareness for the region’s natural jewels
- expose the chances for the regional development
- realize some concrete pilot projects
The inter-provincial project „Network Natural Forests” is a trans-provicial cooperation initiated by the Kalkalpen National Park , the Gesäuse National Park and the Dürrenstein Wilderness Area. Within these three protected areas natural dynamic processes are assured yet. For many animals and plants the zone of all three protected areas is not large enough to survive in the long term. For the preservation of biodiversity the possibility to migrate and to interchange genetically with other populations is essential.
Forest-dwelling animals need a functional network of natural forests to migrate between different habitats. Unfortunately this network is not sound everywhere as human settlements, agriculture, roads, … act as barriers for many species. In Addition to that intense forestry endangers remaining forests and makes them unliveable for many species. Within the project area there are outstanding natural forests in which the habitats are only moderately separated. This provides a great chance for nature and also for the region. By connecting the existing habitats there is a possibility to create an outstanding compound of biotopes for Central Europe.
This again offers great chances for the development of the whole region. Synergies with the connection to the history of the cultural area Eisenwurzen – one important reason for the natural characteristics of the region – provide a unique potential.
The integrated approach of the project “Network Natural Forest” aims at three dimensions:
- the habitats of the protected areas
- connecting stepping stones between them
- the ecological up valuation of the forested land
The unique habitats of the protected areas with their particular characteristics are the basis. Intensified cooperation between the project teams of the protected areas offers even more insight into the dynamic processes of nature.
Stepping stones consisting of natural forests shall connect the habitats in the future. This supports the migration of species and their genetical interchange which is necessary for the preservation of biodiversity. The results of the former project “Econnect” are also used to identify the best stepping stone areas in the region.
An ecological approach to the region’s forestry is another important part of a integrated compound of biotopes. Therefore the project shall support the landowners to implement a sustainable form of forestry. Even small changes in the methods of operation can bring a valuable ecological improvement.
To realize the network, a commitee will be established which overlaps the three Austrian provinces Upper Austria, Styria and Lower Austria: protected areas, landowners, municipalities,… This platform shall take the unique chance offered by the combination of the common natural and cultural jewels of the region.
The great characteristics of the region – some of them hidden – shall be exposed, inhabitants shall be made aware of them and this will give them importance. Only things which are meaningful to us will be protected!
The region possesses unique natural jewels and a cultural heritage at the level of a World Heritage site. It is up to the committee to expose the great and also the small points of interest and it is up to the decision-makers to create a region of high supra-regional attraction. The region has the potential to find new ways and undertake the pioneering task.
Within the project “Network Natural Forest” the base for the compound of biotopes and its connection with the cultural area shall be founded. By realizing some pilot projects the first “stepping stones” for the region will be implemented to go further:
- three species projects (white backed woodpecker, rosalia longicorn und bats – all of them indicators for the ecological quality of the forest; to get new information, to raise awareness and to expose chances)
- analysis of the area to find the best stepping stone areas
- to contract the first stepping stones (nature protection by contracts)
- initiate a project which shows the synergy between the compound of biotopes and the regional development