Forest plant protection in Austria

Forest plant protection comprises all measures protecting against the introduction and the spreading of harmful organisms on forest plants, plant products and, in particular, Wood.

Due to the accession of the countries of the former Eastern Block to the European Union controls have shifted to the external borders of the EU.

Forest plant protection therefore focuses on the control of wood packaging material in the interior of countries.

In case fault is found

  1. the plant protection service of the sender country and
  2. the European Commission and all Member States are informed by the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism via EUROPHYT (EU Network).


Every year the Federal Forest Office, which is part of the Institute for Forest Protection of the Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape, carries out approx. 1000 checks of wood packaging material.

 

Forest plant protection has a long tradition in Austria.

In addition to the rigorous provisions set out in the Forest Act, the so-called “Holzkontrollgesetz” (Wood Inspection Act) was adopted in 1962.
This was necessary because during the early sixties rather large quantities of coniferous wood in bark were imported from the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics via the Black Sea and the Danube, later also by train.

The entire coniferous wood in bark which was imported at certain points of entry was checked by wood inspection bodies and, in the event of pest infestation, was either treated under supervision or rejected.

Upon Austria’s accession to the European Union the Wood Inspection Act was replaced by the 1995 Plant Protection Act, Federal Law Gazette 532/1995.
 

Legal bases

Plant Protection Act 2011

The Plant Protection Act (“Pflanzenschutzgesetz”) regulates the measures taken to protect plants and plant products against harmful organisms products.

This Federal Act applies also to wood, wood products and all kinds of objects made of wood, and regulates above all the

  • government authorities and the bodies of the Austrian plant protection service;
  • the protected areas;
  • the general bans and restrictions concerning the introduction of harmful organisms;
  • the plant passport as well as
  • the penalty provisions.

Plant Protection Ordinance

The Plant Protection Ordinance includes detailed provisions concerning the plant passport and stipulates the fees for the activities of the authority.

Ordinance on Phytosanitary Measures

The Ordinance on Phytosanitary Measures (”Pflanzenschutz-Maßnahmen-Verordnung”) regulates individual issues of and conditions for the implementation of official measures according to the 3rd and 4th section of the Plant Protection Act.

Plant Protection Ordinance - Wood

The measures to prevent the spread of harmful organisms through wood packaging material as well as the measures to prevent the spread of Anaplophora glabripennis are regulated by the Plant Protection Ordinance - Wood.

Ordinance on Points of Entry

The Ordinance on Points of Entry (”Eintrittstellen-Verordnung”) determines at which border points plant products can be imported.


Plant Health Directive (2000/29/EU)

The implementation of the EU Plant Health Directive 2000/29/EU leads to

  • a liberalisation concerning imports of wood from European third countries;
  • more stringent requirements concerning imports of wood and wood products from non-European countries

compared to the formerly applicable provisions of the Wood Inspection Act (”Holzkontrollgesetz”). 

The Directive aims to prevent the introduction of certain quarantine pests.
Any newly occurring harmful organisms have to be notified to the Commission without delay.

At Community level the Brussels-based "Standing Committee on Plant Health" (SCPH)” is responsible for assessing the phytosanitary risk and for determining the required measures.

published at 06.09.2018, Kommunikation und Service (Abteilung Präs. 5)