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Success for nature at Gesäuse National Park

success for nature

Biotope protection

Biotope protection forest – a milestone
Can we leave the forest to itself? National parks usually allow woods to develop freely and we are no exception to the rule. Silvicultural intervention is not necessary and, in compliance with the law, forest wilderness has been allowed to develop naturally on approx. 85% of the national parks area and approx. 70% of the pure forest area in Gesäuse National Park since 2018 – a milestone for nature conservation in the Gesäuse!
The Austrian Forest Act only permits leaving the forest to its own devices in a few cases. For this purpose it must be designated as "biotope protection forest". At the request of the Steiermärkische Landesforste, the owner of the affected national park territory, the obligation to control bark beetles on defined areas has been dropped by decision of the District Administration of Liezen. However, the insects are fought in areas where neighbouring commercial forests must be protected. A horizontal distance of 500m has proven to be a suitable "safety distance". In this area national park rangers ensure that any infestation is detected immediately and appropriate measures are taken instantly (removal of the wood, milling of the bark, implementation of catch trees). Bark beetles are also fought in the sensitive protective forests. Hazard models by Land Steiermark were used for the definition of the borderlines in addition to the determination of zone boundaries on site.
Download fact sheet biotope protection forest - german only

more space for natural waters

More space for natural waters
In the past, many bodies of water have been straightened and the threat of flooding has been countered with increasingly massive control structures. Today, rivers and streams are given more space again because an intact body of water fulfils many valuable functions.

Johnsbach creek
This torrent used to flood the entire valley floor of the Zwischenmäuer section from Silberreith to the Bachbrücke during floods. In order to secure the road to the village of Johnsbach, punctures, straightenings, bottom sills, falls and wire platforms were built between 1951 and 1974. In 1999, during the preparations for the establishment of Gesäuse National Park, recommendations for the revitalisation of Johnsbach creek were made LIFE-Project. Significant improvements for this habitat were implemented within the framework of the LIFE-project between 2006 and 2010. Artificial falls and structures were removed, the estuary area was designed close to nature and widening sections were created. Themed trail "Wild John" .

Lettmair Au
Due to numerous regulatory measures, side arms along the entire Enns river fell dry and floodplains were dewatered in order to improve land use. The branch of Enns river in the Lettmair Au was reopened in 2005 and 2006, filling the Silberweiden-Au, which is not far from the Johnsbach Bridge, with new life. Visitor experience Willow Dome, Lettmair Au .

The Gseng Spring
In a side ditch of Johnsbach creek, the Gseng, dolomite quarry was mined on a large scale and an asphalt mixing plant was operated until 2008. As a result, the fill and a spring located in it were severely affected. In 2010, all operating equipment and asphalt were removed and road pavements were demolished. The known spring outlet is recovering well and spring insects are returning. Gseng-Trip to the Haindlkar Hut .

lead free

Game management in Gesäuse National Park is lead-free
The professional hunters and foresters of Gesäuse National Park have exclusively been using lead-free rifle bullets in game management since 2012. This prevents lead from entering the environment and endangering scavengers such as the golden eagle or foxes. In order to find the perfect admission for each weapon the changeover was scientifically monitored. The evaluation of the firing protocols from 2012-2016 showed positive results - the lead-free rifle bullets deliver a similar, if not better, killing effect on game in comparison to lead-containing bullets.
Details in the reports on game management: Game management reports - german only.

The Austrian Climate Protection Award 2012

The Austrian Climate Protection Award 2012
On the 12th of October in 2012 the Gesäuse National Park received the award for the best project in the category "Climate Protection in Everyday Life" for its walk-in ecological footprint. The world's first walk-in ecological footprint in Gesäuse National Park aims at providing a humorous insight into many facets of our daily lives and teaches living sustainably. Questions “lurk” at various crossroads, leading to dead ends within the labyrinth when answered incorrectly. Like the wrong paths of human civilization, some paths lead to hopeless situations. In order to expand and deepen the experience, national park rangers also offer supervised, charged programs which are prepared in a playful and exciting way and teach guests how to reduce their own ecological footprint and protect the environment. "The Climate Protection Award proves that Gesäuse National Park takes its educational mission seriously and implements it successfully. A special natural environment, combined with a committed and innovative management, is the best prerequisite for successful national parks", said environment minister Berlakovich.


Eco-label and Climate Alliance
The visitor centre Willow Dome has been awarded with the Austrian Eco-label for educational institutions in August 2011. The label is a guarantee for environmentally friendly products and services. It can be awarded in the fields of products (e.g. Wallig Ennstaler Druckerei und Verlag GmbH), tourism (e.g. Mödlinger Hütte), events and education.
Additionally, the Gesäuse National Park has been a Climate Alliance operation ever since November 2013. This award is a supplement to the eco-label in view of the commitment in the areas of climate protection and soft mobility.
If you have any questions or suggestions please contact the Eco-Label and Climate Alliance Team of Gesäuse National Park:
Martin Hartmann, Petra Sterl.

Gesäuse Partners

Partner book
The book "Gemeinsam im Nationalpark Gesäuse" ("Together in the Gesäuse National Park") was written as a token of appreciation for the partners. In addition to introducing the individual partners, it contains important information about the National Park and the philosophy of the network. Thus the book is a complete reference work for guests, locals and the partners themselves. The book has already been awarded the Green Panther (State Prize for Innovative Communication) and the Austriacus (Austrian Federal Advertising Prize). Thanks to the national and state awards, the book has become an important marketing tool for the Gesäuse National Park.