Supporting forests in the midst of climate change

The forest is one of the areas that is most affected by climate change. In order for it to be able to contribute to resolving this issue more effectively, the Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) offers the new internet platform www.klimafitterwald.at to provide hands-on support to forest owners and to municipalities and regions. The launch of the website is celebrated with a photo contest.

Numerous institutions support forest owners in the sustainable management and tending of their forests. However, many affected parties feel clueless. Where should Mr. F turn to after he has discovered bark beetles in his forest? Which species of tree should Ms. K plant in the future? And what is the impact of climate change on one’s own forest? The website dealing with forests in the midst of climate change that is accessible at http://www.klimafitterwald.at/ is a central point of contact for the many questions revolving around this complex topic. Here, forest owners find answers and the appropriate point of contact for their concerns and can register for a hands-on seminar in Ottenstein (Lower Austria). Until 25 May 2018, the Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) is looking for the most beautiful forest photo.  

The platform is a measure that is part of the campaign “Using timber is good for the climate. We make our forests climate-fit” devised by the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. It is the aim of the campaign to make Austrian forests fit for climate change by way of different measures. Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger has emphasised that “Imparting knowledge covering research and practical implementation is an essential key to the success of climate-fit forest management. The new internet platform of BFW is an important building block in this endeavor”.

Our forests in times of climate change

Overall, there are appr. 145,000 forest owners in Austria. More than half of them own small forests featuring a forest area of less than 200 hectares. Forests are strongly affected by climate change, but they are, at the same time, also part of the solution, as they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during their growth. Forests must be managed accordingly so that they can also provide significant services to society in times of climate change. Among these are: the filtering of drinking water, keeping the air clean, providing rich biodiversity, protection against natural hazards, and the provision of timber. Timber can replace fossil energy sources, but also energy-intensive materials and construction products and thus make a key contribution to climate protection.

“In order to design the internet platform in a way that caters to demand, the municipalities as well as (small) forest owners are surveyed under the leadership of BFW about their needs regarding forest management. The results are to indicate a need for consulting and prompt owners to make their forests climate-fit in the best-possible way”, declares Peter Mayer, Head of BFW. The implementation partners of the platform are Gerald Steindlegger, a sustainability consultant; the Austrian Association of Municipalities, the Chamber of Agriculture, the Forest Timber Paper cooperation platform, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, the Environment Agency Austria, and the Austrian Environmental Umbrella Organisation.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Ms. Anna-Maria Walli anna.walli@bfw.gv.at

published at 28.08.2018, Kommunikation und Service (Abteilung Präs. 5)