Researcher´s blog at Gesäuse National Park

Researcher´s blog

Looking over the shoulder of researchers.
What is currently being researched in Gesäuse National Park? Which animal and plant species are particularly in focus and which projects are being implemented? Those and other questions regarding research are answered here in addition to links to currently completed reports and scientific publications.

Common sandpiper visibly at ease

Monday, 2021-06-21, written by Alexander Maringer

We have been working intensively for years to ensure that sandpipers find quiet breeding areas in the Gesäuse. It seems that we are succeeding more and more through the proven guidance of visitors. For this we say a big thank you!


At the time of the founding of the Gesäuse National Park, around five breeding pairs were confirmed each year; ten years ago, the low of two pairs caused concern. Now we are happy again about 7-8 breeding pairs along the Enns between the Gesäuse entrance and Gstatterboden. That doesn't sound like much, but it accounts for more than a quarter of the breeding population in Styria and is the largest known breeding occurrence in the state!

You can find more about our natural phenomena and the animals in the Gesäuse National Park here. How to behave so that you do not disturb the sandpiper, we summarized in the Fair Play Folder .

We protect Austria's natural heritage

Tuesday, 2021-05-25, written by Alexander Maringer

Since their foundation, the six Austrian national parks have been recording the diversity of their fauna and flora. In a joint project, the Federal Environment Agency and the Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research at the University of Vienna now analyzed these data.


Austria's national parks occupy just under 3% of the country's land area, but complement each other in protecting biodiversity. While the hotspots of vertebrates are located in the national parks Seewinkel and Donau-Auen, the inner alpine national parks are characterized by species diversity in endemics, plants and habitats.


However, the study authors also note that climate change, invasive species, and air pollutants do not stop at any national park boundary. The task of national parks to maintain natural ecosystem processes, on the basis of which species and habitats can persist, is complicated by many human interventions outside national parks.


The most important facts about the study:  www.nationalparksaustria.at/unsernaturerbe

Full Report: http://www.parcs.at/npa/mmd_fullentry.php?docu_id=42247


Networking meeting Eisenwurzen

Networking meeting Eisenwurzen
Research in the region - research for the region

For more info on the workshop, click the link below.

Networking meeting Eisenwurzen

Alpine hotspot of biodiversity

Thursday, 2021-04-22, written by Alexander Maringer

We do not always succeed in making our research results accessible to such a broad audience. But when a major Austrian daily newspaper picks up on a scientific paper, we are particularly pleased.


Read them:

Forschung Spezial – Der Standard

Alpiner Hotspot der Artenvielfalt – Researchgate

Windkantenrasen - say what?

Tuesday, 2021-03-23, written by Alexander Maringer

Wind energy plays a central role in the mountains. No, we are not talking about wind turbines now. Especially at ridges and summits often a strong breeze blows. Plants growing in this area must be well adapted to cold anyway, because especially in winter life near the summit is extremely hard. When the snow is blown away, it is really icy. The low temperatures and the ice crystals whirled up by the wind act like a sandblaster. If you want to survive up there, you need special protective mechanisms. The plants therefore stay close to the ground, form robust leaves and often grow in compact pads.

Plant communities that grow in such extremely windy places and whose plants have these adapted characteristics are called wind edge grasslands. In 2020, exactly these special species communities were documented in a study at the Tamischbach Tower.

To download the entire research paper, visit the Data Center:

About the research work

New bat species detected

Monday, 2021-02-15, written by Alexander Maringer

In the Gesäuse National Park, the first record of the "lesser mouse-eared bat" was made. The species inhabits only a very small area in Austria and is threatened with extinction. This bat species lives in large colonies together with its sister species, the mouse ear, in summer and is therefore very difficult to detect. The new evidence from the National Park is therefore particularly valuable.

For the researchers, the demanding terrain and the large number of caves during the two-year study naturally pose a challenge. In the Gesäuse National Park, a total of 18 species have been detected, compared to 26 bat species in Styria as a whole. This is an impressive number for a mountain habitat. The unspoiled mountain landscape but also the traditional alpine pastures are a refuge for many species and the quiet winter quarters in the rocky niches and caves of the Gesäuse are particularly appreciated by the bats.


To download the entire research paper, visit the Data Center:


Winter authorities for nature conservation

Monday, 2020-12-21, written by Alexander Maringer

We are there for you


"We are there for you!" say the national park authorities to the grouse. The Gesäuse National Park is also supervised during the winter months. The sworn organs take care of the ski routes and their signposting, monitor compliance with legal regulations and are contact persons* for everyone who visits us.

When trees grow into the sky

Tuesday, 2020-09-01, written by Alexander Maringer

The Himmelstoß fir is well on its way to growing into the sky. A measurement showed that it is an astonishing 47 meters tall and has a massive circumference of 3.95 meters at chest height!

However, this is not quite true, because trees cannot grow into the sky. This is due to physics. Leaves evaporate water. Evaporation ensures that water can be drawn from the roots into the crown via complicated conduits. However, the higher the tree gets, the more difficult it is to transport the water that far up, and at some point a limit is reached where gas bubbles would form and the system would no longer work. That's why trees - not even the Himmelstoß fir - don't grow to the sky.

P.S.: This fir is named after the legendary forestry director Franz Himmelstoß, head of the Steiermärkische Landesforste forestry operation from 1953 to 1967, who campaigned massively and emphatically for the preservation of the strong solitary trees.

Dare to look into history with wood

Tuesday, 2020-08-20, written by Magdalena Kaltenbrunner

Many secrets lie dormant in Sulzkar Lake. For example, two spruce logs have been lying in the lake for almost 1400 years. As part of the Sulzkarsee project, one piece of each was recovered and has now been dated.

Trees produce wood during their lifetime. In our latitudes, this wood growth is interrupted during the winter half-year. This results in clearly defined annual rings and, depending on the weather sequence over several years, a unique pattern that is recognizable in all trees of a wood species and region. The pattern can be used for dating.

The two logs from Sulzkarsee in the Gesäuse National Park fell into the lake in the years after 617 and 590 AD, respectively, and were at least 150 and 377 years old. The older one was therefore already standing on the lakeshore around the year 200 AD!


Monday, 2020-08-03, written by Barbara Bock

At the end of July, a team of 7 people went out with spades and shovels to once again get to grips with an occurrence of Japanese knotweed in the national park.

Japanese knotweed is considered a highly invasive neophyte that affects the diversity of our plant and therefore animal life through its rapid growth and large-scale spread.

To bring knotweed to its knees, it must be dug up as deep as possible. This is easier said than done - meter-long rhizomes and deep-reaching roots make the task difficult. And last but not least, the battlefield must be thoroughly cleaned up, because a small, forgotten piece of stem can develop into a complete plant again within a short time.

The knotweed stand on the Enns River was treated for the third time this year and the control measures are showing initial success. In the meantime, its growth has been reduced by two thirds. A total of nine garbage bags, each containing 80 liters of plant material, were removed and taken to the waste management association in Liezen for proper disposal.
In fall, there is still a follow-up inspection to remove any new shoots.

The Neophyte Action Day took place, as in previous years, in cooperation with the HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein. Many thanks for your great support!

Natural dynamics during thunderstorms

Tuesday, 2020-07-07, written by Alexander Maringer

During a violent thunderstorm, not one stone is left on the other...

The normally dry stream bed of the Haindlkar turns into a torrent of water, mud and debris within minutes during heavy rain. The way to the Haindlkar hut is then life-threatening and impassable.

The Weissenbachl east of Gstatterboden is a small, clear stream. This changes abruptly during a thunderstorm. Water, mud and debris make their way down to the Enns. The video is from July 1, 2020, with thanks to Christoph Strobl from AOS rafting. www.rafting.at

New butterfly species named after Gesäuse researcher!

Wednesday, 2020-02-19, written by Barbara Bock

In science, new species are sometimes named after deserving personalities. Recently, a new butterfly species from Iran was given the name of the Styrian butterfly researcher Heinz Habeler, who died in 2017.

In honor of Heinz Habeler, one of my mentors, we named a Noctuid species from Iran after him", writes Benjamin Wiesmair of the Tiroler Landesmuseum about the new type "Orthosia habeleri".

Habeler has spent decades researching the butterfly diversity in Styria and was very attached to the Gesäuse National Park. His book on a total of 1,234 butterfly species in the protected area was published at the end of 2017.