Forest Act 1975

The Austrian Forest Act of 1975 (“Forstgesetz 1975”) is the central source of forestry law.


The objective of the 1975 Forest Act is to maintain forests and the forest soil and to ensure forest effects and sustainable forest management.

Content of the law

The Forest Act 1975 is subdivided into 12 sections:

1. Forest, General (§§ 11 through 5):

These articles include the definition of terms (“forest”) as well as regulations on new afforestation and declaratory proceedings concerning forests.

Detailed provisions on new afforestation through natural regeneration are set out in the (Ordinance on the deviating plant cover in the case of new afforestation through natural regeneration.

2. Forest Area Planning (§§ 6 through 11):

This section comprises the task and the scope of forest area planning as well as legal requirements concerning the Forest Development Plan  (“Waldentwicklungsplan”), the Technical Forestry Plan (“Waldfachplan”) and the Hazard Zone Plan (“Gefahrenzonenplan”).

Detailed provisions concerning this section are set out in

>> the Ordinance on the Forest Development Plan and in

>> the Ordinance on the Hazard Zone Plan.

3. Maintaining the Forest and the Durability of Its Effects (§§ 12 through 38):

In this context, the provisions of highest importance to the practice are, above all, those on clearing.

The current Clearing Decree  (“Rodungserlass”) of the former BMNT (Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism) is available in the download area.

Other regulations relate for example to forests requiring special treatment - the protective forest (“Schutzwald”) and the protective forest declared by official notice (“Bannwald”), the use of forests for recreational purposes,and forests with secondary uses.

Detailed provisions on the protective forest can be found in the Protective Forest Ordinance (“Schutzwaldverordnung”).

Detailed provisions concerning the marking of restrictions on use in forests can be found in the Forest Marking Ordinance (“Forstliche Kennzeichnungsverordnung”).

4. Forest Protection (§§ 40 through 45):

This chapter deals with the protection against forest fires, forest pests or atmospheric pollution damaging to forests.

Detailed provisions on this section are set out in

>> the Forest Protection Ordinance (“Forstschutzverordnung”) and

>> the Second Ordinance against Forest-Damaging Air Pollutants (“Zweite Verordnung gegen forstschädliche Luftverunreinigungen”).

5. Haulage (§§ 58 through 73):

Here you will find the provisions on forestry haulage, the requirement of approval and haulage installations, haulage over third-party land, and haulage co-operatives.

6. Use of the Forest (§§ 80 through 97):

This section regulates general restrictions on use (protection of immature stands, prohibition of clear felling) as well as the supervision of felling by the authority.

Detailed provisions concerning the protection of immature stands can be found in the Ordinance on rapid-growing tree species (“Verordnung über raschwüchsige Baumarten”).

7. Protection Against Torrents and Avalanches (§§ 98 through 103):

These provisions apply in addition to the Austrian Torrent Control Law (“Wildbachverbauungsgesetz”) and regulate the determination of the catchment areas, the treatment of forests as well as the preventive measures in catchment areas.

More detailed organisational provisions concerning the Forest Engineering Service in Torrent and Avalanche Control can be found in

>> the Ordinance on administrative departments in torrent and avalanche control (“Wildbach- und Lawinenverbauung-Dienststellenverordnung”) and

>> the Ordinance on the Tasks of the Administrative Departments and the BMLF in Matters concerning Torrent and Avalanche Control (“Verordnung über den Aufgabenbereich der Dienststellen und des BMLF in Angelegenheiten der WLV”).

8. Forest Staff (§§ 104 through 122):

Here you will find regulations on the forest officers and their areas of responsibility, on the course of training for forest officers, the state examination for senior forest service and for foresters’ service, and on the duty to appoint forest officers.

More detailed provisions on this section were adopted through

>> the Ordinance on the Training of Forest Assistants (“Forstassistenten-Ausbilungsverordnung”) and

>> the Ordinance on the State Examination in Forestry (“Forstlichen Staatsprüfungsverordnung”).

9. - 12. (§§ 129 through 185):

These sections regulate forestry research and subsidisation in the field of forestry. Furthermore, they contain general provisions on authorities and the hierarchy of authority as well as penal provisions.

Within the framework of the section on forestry subsidisation the Ordinance on the Federal Subsidy for Insurance against Forest Fires (“Verordnung über den Bundeszuschuss zur Waldbrandversicherung”) was adopted.


The Forest Act is enforced in indirect federal administration, which means by the Provincial Governor and the district administration authorities).

Implementing provincial laws on forestry

In addition, the provincial implementing laws, which include implementing provisions on individual forest law provisions (e.g. § 15 para. 4 of the Forest Act concerning the division of forest or § 42 Forest Act concerning forest fire fighting) have to be taken into account.

These can be accessed on the legal information system of the Austrian Federal Government Rechtsinformationssystem des Bundes (RIS).

Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT)
Directorate III/2 Forest Legislation, Legal Policy
and Vocational Qualification
Marxergasse 2
1030 Vienna
Director Katharina Kaiser
Phone: +43 1 711 00 - 606681 

published at 25.08.2020, Kommunikation und Service (Abteilung Präs. 5)