National Park Gesaeuse Andreas Hollinger-10106

News Archive 2014


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Power for the National Park Computers
From today, electricity for the National Park computers comes from the roof of our wooden building. Silke Regner has flipped the switch and thus put the new system into operation. The system produces electricity from sunrise to sunset (no na) and thus fits perfectly with the consumption curve in the office operations. Many thanks for the funding to the Climate Fund and the Ministry for a Livable Austria.



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Red deer in winter

Recordings from one feeding site are transmitted daily. Follow the animals feeding here throughout the winter.

Want to be there yourself? Find out in the event programme about the Wildlife watching in the Gesäuse National Park.

Why the red deer are fed here is explained to you by our Cloven-hoofed Game Management Plan.



National Park Forum 2015

On Thursday, 15.1.2015, the next NP Forum will take place at 6 pm in St. Gallen (Gasthof Hensle). In addition to the population of the National Park municipalities, this time young people from various organisations in Styria and the district are particularly invited to find out about the National Park and to discuss the Gesäuse National Park in a "World Café".




A Secretary General at Röthelstein Castle

Markus Reiterer, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention and - as a former climber - connoisseur of the Gesäuse, honoured Schloss Röthelstein with a visit. At the "Wildlife and connected habitats" conference organised by ALPARC, Reiterer stressed the importance of biological connectivity for the conservation of biodiversity. Germany currently holds the presidency of the Alpine Convention and Peter Boye from the Bavarian State Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection also explained at the meeting that the networking of protected areas and biological connectivity was a priority issue to be addressed. The triangle between the Gesäuse and Kalkalpen National Parks and the Dürrenstein Wilderness Area is considered a pilot region with exemplary character throughout the Alps in terms of networking.




Change of personnel in the National Park
On 15 December, David Osebik moves from the Gesäuse National Park to the Gesäuse National Park Alpine Region Tourism Association, where he will play a key role in shaping its development as Managing Director. Osebik was employed in the National Park as project manager "Mobility" and successfully launched "Gseispur". Thomas Sattler (see photo) is now in charge of the National Park's communication department.


Graz tourism experts at the Gseis

On 12 December 2014, "Styria Tourism" paid a pre-Christmas visit to the Gesäuse National Park. David Osebik, Andreas Hollinger and NP Director Herbert Wölger led Erich Neuhold and his team to the ecological footprint in the Weidendom adventure centre. Other topics of discussion were the increasingly close cooperation between the regional tourism association and Dachmarke Steiermark, as well as the need for a continuous walking and cycling path from Admont to Hieflau.

Photo: © Neuhold



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Artist designs mugs for the Weidendom

From 2014 onwards, artists will be designing the well-known Advent gifts. Frederick Steinmann will be the first.

His salamander bites its own tail and completes a circle. Beginning and end are dissolved. Frederick Steinmann was born in Fribourg (CH) in 1953. In 1972 he left Switzerland to study sculpture and painting at the Academia delle Belle Arte in Rome. In 1978, fascinated by Schiele, he visits Vienna for a fortnight, stays and from then on turns entirely to the visual arts. From 1996 to 2000 Frederick Steinmann maintained a studio in Cairo, but returned to Vienna, where he now lives and works.


Echoes of the Past, Literature from the National Park

Azadeh Sharifi, an author from Iran, spent two weeks in the Gesäuse in the summer as part of a scholarship from Nationalparks Austria. The days on the Niederscheiben and Goferalm were a challenge for the Berlin-born author with regard to the daily chores, but also a slow immersion in the memories of her childhood in Iran.

Here is the text "The Echoes of the Past", which Azadeh wrote in the Gesäuse National Park.


Espionage in the National Park?

In the Gesäuse National Park, a drone was used for the first time this year in the service of science. Avalanche gullies at the Tamischbachturm near Hieflau were investigated. These avalanche gullies are particularly rich in flowering plants. The aim was to take a closer look at the natural processes in avalanche gullies and thus to better understand the causes and connections to biodiversity. For this purpose, high-resolution aerial photographs were taken from the air using a remote-controlled hexacopter and analysed.


The "first" NP rangers in the Gesäuse

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of ranger activities in the Gesäuse National Park, Karoline Scheb organised a meeting of the "Altranger" at Gasthof Pirafelner in Hall on 14 November 2014.

"Old Swede - can you still remember....."


Gesäuse NP in Africa

The Gesäuse National Park team was a guest in the former home of the African explorer Hermann von Wissmann. Many thanks to the Wissmann family for the friendly guided tour through the small private museum.

Wissmann spent the last years of his life in Weißenbach near Liezen, where he died in 1905. During his active career as a German officer, Wissmann was the first explorer to cross Africa from west to east and later worked in the German colonial administration.

Wissmann's actions in putting down a colonial uprising seem questionable from today's perspective, but his services to the exploration of Africa and also his efforts to establish the first game reserves remain a great achievement.


Greetings from Sydney

Letter from Sydney:

Dear Herbert, the IUCN World Parks Congress is coming to an end and I would like to send you a short interim report: Apart from the fact that one would have preferred to "clone" oneself in order to be present at as many of the parallel events as possible, there are only positive things to report. I was able to attend most of the workshops of stream 8 "Inspiring a Young Generation", as well as several other events from related thematic areas; in total, several hundred sessions were held here, plus countless side events, etc. 5000 conference participants from over 160 countries, a total of five from Austria 🙂 In many areas, we could have really delivered many "best practice" examples... For example, the delegation from Madagascar, who arrived with over 50 participants, full of expectation to take away as many suggestions as possible for their protected area work, is staying in my hotel!

My two presentations were well received, our partner school project is really exemplary, also in international comparison, and concerning the ranger training I have meanwhile received several requests for cooperation (e.g. Romania, Serbia, etc.) Well, and the director from Mozambique (12 NPs, the largest of which with approx. 40,000 km²!!!) would have great interest in an intensive exchange 🙂

With Peter Rupitsch, we had a meeting with the responsible head of the national parks there, and, and, and... within the framework of Austria's cooperation with South Korea.

Many suggestions and ideas have come together during these days, also much food for thought in view of the problems and challenges in several other countries and protected areas, and also with regard to the general situation of our planet!

However, at the end of the day, what remains is the feeling of being able to work in the interest of nature conservation in the midst of a unique community of people that transcends all language and national borders - and that is simply a great task!!!

Thanks again to you for the opportunity to have this experience here in Sydney!!!!

Best wishes to you and all colleagues from Down Under,
and see you soon in Austria!


This year's annual conference of the six Austrian national parks took place on 29 & 30 October in the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park under the motto KON.TAKT.GEFÜHL. Behind this somewhat abstract title is the basic and simple idea that a national park - in addition to a unique and diverse natural habitat - also represents a point of contact and a meeting zone for many people. In addition to the various forms of encounter, the main topic of discussion at the annual conference was the public perception and status of Austria's national parks - with representatives from various media sectors.


Interpädagogica 2014

The Gesäuse National Park, together with the five other national parks in Austria, is once again represented at the largest trade fair for teachers this year. Visit us at our stand in Hall C!

More information:


The Gesäuse Photo School at Photo+Adventure 2014 in Linz
The Gesäuse Photo School presents its brand new course programme for 2015 at this weekend's Photo+Adventure fair in Linz (07-09 November)!
In the coming year, the Gesäuse Photo School will again be offering a wide range of courses and workshops that specifically address the special challenges of nature and landscape photography in all its forms. In the midst of a magnificent mountain landscape, the dominant elements are "wild water - steep rock". In addition, the partly untouched forests and flower-filled alpine meadows offer an almost endless variety of motifs that will make the heart of every photographer beat faster.


"blick.dicht": Curious and beautiful things from Austria's national parks
The National Parks Austria art book "blick.dicht" was presented to the public at a festive presentation on 14 October 2014. This magnificently designed illustrated book enchants from the first to the last page. The National Parks Austria art book "blick.dicht" documents the Austrian National Parks - Neusiedler See - Seewinkel, Donau-Auen, Thayatal, Gesäuse, Kalkalpen, and Hohe Tauern in the form of fascinating macro photographs, impressive panoramic images and special herbarium specimens.
The "art book" is intended to stand out from classic illustrated books and to emphasise the attractiveness of Austrian national parks in an artistic way with novel, unconventional approaches and means. It promises an exceptional reading and viewing experience, entirely in the style of a visual cabinet of curiosities. On 156 pages aesthetically designed by artist Chloé Thomas, people with an affinity for art and nature lovers have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of the national parks and experience them from a new perspective through the presentation of curious finds, unique treasures and historical cultural evidence. Also available at the Admont Information Office from the end of October.


From the Glacier Gate to the Steppe Lake

In May, Federal Minister Andrä Rupprechter presented the Gesäuse National Park with awards for the "Wild John" and the "Lettmair Au" as Theme Trail of the Year. With "Vom Gletschertor zum Steppensee" (From Glacier Gate to Steppe Lake), a guide has now been published that presents excellent themed trails across Austria's protected areas and whets the appetite for discovery and tracing. The E.C.O. team of authors has hiked 130 themed trails, the 33 best are represented in the book.



A total of 7 participants of the current certificate course for Austrian National Park Rangers had their final examination excursion on 9 October in perfect weather conditions! In the presence of National Park Director Herbert Wölger, this task was mastered brilliantly by all of them and we are very happy about this addition to the team of rangers of the Gesäuse National Park!


Telescope at the willow dome
Watch the climbers at the Hochtor or the chamois in the gorges. With the new binocular telescope at the Weidendom, you can get up close to the forests and rock faces of the Gesäuse.


Office excursion of HBM Andrä Rupprechter
During an excursion to the Gesäuse National Park, the staff of the Minister's Office had the opportunity to see for themselves a piece of Austria that is particularly worthy of protection and love. The trip was attended by Head of the Office Michael Esterl, Günter Walkner, who is responsible for the National Parks in the Cabinet, and Secretary General Reinhard Mang. Not in the photo is Minister Rupprechter, who came later.


Federal President in the National Park
On the rainy hike to the Buchsteinhaus there was plenty of time for a chat or two and of course for the much sought-after "selfies". Passionate hiker Heinz Fischer delighted the hike participants with his friendly and approachable manner and visibly enjoyed the fog-shrouded panorama of the Gesäuse National Park on the terrace of the Buchsteinhaus.


Lead-free in the Gesäuse
In the Gesäuse National Park, the rifle bullets of all professional hunters were converted to lead-free ammunition during the last hunting season, accompanied by a monitoring project. The conversion has largely been completed for all professional hunters, although new lead-free rifle bullets and calibres are still being used and assessed. 225 cloven-hoofed game have already been shot with lead-free ammunition. The evaluation of the shooting records shows very good results - the lead-free rifle bullets used in the Gesäuse National Park deliver at least a similar, if not better killing effect on the game piece than comparable lead-containing bullets. The evaluation of the protocols of the next hunting seasons will provide further well-founded information.


NP Gesäuse visits wilderness area Dürrenstein

The Gesäuse National Park's company outing this year took us to the Dürrenstein Wilderness Area. On a hike led by Reinhard Pekny, forester and staff member of the wilderness area, Gesäuse National Park staff and rangers got to know the IUCN Category I protected area better. On the second day of the excursion, the group set off for the fog-shrouded summit of the Dürrenstein with a final descent to Lunz am See.


What does a national park attract?
On 10 September 2014, the National Parks Austria Fashion Show under the title "national.parkett" took place as part of the MQ Vienna Fashion Week.
The beauty of Austria's natural jewels was presented in the form of exquisite haute couture. The designer duo km/a alias Katha Harrer and Michael Ellinger created an extravagant and characteristically significant "signature" outfit for each of the six Austrian national parks. More at National Parks Austria.


6 Spanish scouts, including 1 girl, helped Christian Leimberger and his team last week with the renovation of the Gseng path up to the Haindlkarhütte. The group integrated quickly and carried buckets of gravel to fix the path, which slips every year after heavy thunderstorms. The path is currently very passable - not least thanks to our Catalan friends.

You can find more information on the Safe Routes in the Gesäuse campaign at following link.


Golden eagle eyrie camera

This year, a video camera once again provides exclusive insights into a golden eagle nest in the Gesäuse National Park. We show you pictures and videos directly from the eyrie! You can find the link to the video clip and the picture gallery here.


Cabbage florets in the Gesäuse

In July, Wolfram Foelsche, a specialist in cabbage anemones, visited the Gesäuse. Cabbage roses are a genus in the orchid family. Wolfram Foelsche was the first to describe the bicoloured cabbage anemone (Nigritella bicolor) which was previously given to the red cabbage (Nigritella miniata) was attributed (Foelsche, W. (2010): Nigritella bicolor, a new apomictic cabbage-herb of the Alps, the Dinaric Mountains and the Carpathians. - Jour. Eur. Orch. 42(1): 31-82).

Wolfram Foelsche determined the cabbage-herb species at the Lugauerplan and in the Sulzkar. The occurrence of the red as well as the bicoloured cabbageherb was confirmed. Also the Widders' cabbage-herb (Nigritella widderi)which is easier to distinguish due to its lighter colouration, was frequently present at the sites.

Photos: © Reinhard Thaller


Barrier-free nature discovery trail opens!

On 5 July, the barrier-free nature experience trail "Leierweg" was opened as part of this year's summer festival of the Gesäuse National Park! Several stations on this scenically beautiful section of the trail illustrate in an entertaining way the topic of "Barriers - in the mind and in nature" - and what solutions are required...

More information is available at:


Golden eagles breed again

Three breeding pairs of golden eagles and one pair of peregrine falcons in the National Park area are the result of this year's rock nesting surveys.Three breeding pairs of golden eagles and one pair of peregrine falcons in the National Park area are the result of this year's rock nesting surveys. Now the birds are entering a sensitive phase: bad weather and disturbances can quickly lead to the abandonment of the nest. As in previous years, helicopter pilots are aware of the eyrie areas and will avoid them. Private pilots can obtain information at any time if they are interested or adhere to the general recommendations for air traffic in the National Park.


Nature area brochure

Do you know how many woodpecker species there are in the National Park? Do you know the ecological importance of our alpine pastures? Have you noticed any of our special endemic plants during your hikes?

Our new brochure on the subject of natural areas shows you all this and much more. It is an ideal companion for your tour through the Gesäuse National Park and conveys everything worth knowing about the flora and fauna of our protected area with excellent pictures.

Available from the 2014 summer season at all National Park information points.


Admont Abbey Grammar School: Back To The Wild!

¡De vuelta a la naturaleza! Back to the wilderness! In their video, the pupils of the Stiftdgymansium Admont combine beguiling images from the (water) world of the Gesäuse National Park with associations to the National Park - in three languages!


Go-ahead for museum cooperation between Gesäuse National Park and Admont Monastery
At a workshop in the Natural History Museum, a planning team consisting of National Park staff, curator Michael Braunsteiner, musician Thomas Gorbach and the Verdandi company defined the framework conditions for a National Park exhibition in the Natural History Museum of Admont Abbey. National Park Director Wölger: "The cooperation is obvious, not only because it is about using an existing museum infrastructure, but also with regard to the thematic connection via the natural history collection and the research personality of Father Gabriel Strobl. In terms of content, the exhibition will be about the special features of the Gesäuse National Park, about research and especially about passion for nature. To ensure that the exhibition visit remains in the memory, musician Thomas Gorbach will create a spatial sound installation that is unique in Austria. The "Museum in the Museum" will open in spring 2015.


Gesäuse Photo School at the Highlights

Last weekend the Gesäuse Photo School was a guest at the "Glanzlichtern 2014″. The "Glanzlichter" or International Fürstenfeld Nature Photography Days near Munich have become the largest nature photography festival in Europe in recent years. In 2014, the theme was "The World of Mammals". Exciting multivision lectures, interesting photo workshops, instructive seminars, as well as the extensive free supporting programme ensured a successful weekend around the topic of nature photography.

Ewald Neffe and Herfried Marek are among the prize-winners of this year's international photo competition in the framework of the "Glanzlichter", and both have been won as lecturers for a nature photo workshop in the framework of the Gesäuse Photo School. Places are still available for the date from Saturday, 14 June to Sunday, 15 June.

Details or registration for the course as well as further information on the extensive course programme of the Gesäuse Photo School:

Tel.: +43 3613 211 60 20

Course programme under:


An exhibition goes on tour

It is obvious that the six Austrian national parks in particular offer excellent motifs for nature photographers: from the expanses of Lake Neusiedl to the river landscapes of the Danube and Thaya, from the Styrian Gesäuse and the Upper Austrian Limestone Alps to the glacier-crowned peaks of the Hohe Tauern! In a cooperation of National Parks Austria together with the Association for Wildlife and Nature Photography of Austria (VTNÖ), it was possible to select captivatingly beautiful pictures that reflect the special features of each national park in an impressive way. Martin Hartmann, Head of Department at the Gesäuse National Park, member of VTNÖ and initiator of the Gesäuse Photo School sends the exhibition towards the Thayatal after an Admont presentation.

Anyone who would like to show the exhibition can contact us here:

Apart from expenses such as transport, the exhibition is lent free of charge.


The new

Finally, the time has come again - the new summer 2014 issue of the National Park Magazine "In the ice"is here. The magazine is available free of charge at the information office in Admont and at the information stands of our National Park partners. The pdf can be downloaded from the Download page can be downloaded from our homepage.

You can also order our magazine Subscribe free of charge. Please address a maill, letter or fax with your name and address to:
Karin Lattacher, Gesäuse National Park GmbH, 8913 Weng im Gesäuse 2
Fax: +43 3613 21000 18


Employees wanted

For the Aktion SAFE WAYS

are still looking for staff for this season.

Contact: Christian Leimberger, 8911 Hall 254, Tel. 0680 44 377 49


Theme trail of the year
The best theme trails from Austria's protected areas were selected on behalf of the "Ministry for a Livable Austria". With the "Wilden John" and the "Lettmair Au", two prizes went to the Gesäuse. Minister Rupprechter presented the awards in Kals in East Tyrol at the foot of the Großglockner. While Austria's highest mountain remained hidden in the clouds, neighbours of the Gesäuse National Park were also pleased to receive an award: the Steirische Eisenwurzen Nature Park with the GeoPfad Gams, the Moor Protection Association with the Pürgschachen Moor Adventure Trail and the Sölktäler Nature Park with the Gumpeneck Geological Theme Trail.


Start of the season in the Willow Dome

Since the beginning of May, the time has come again: even though the weather is still in an April mood, the Weidendom in the Gesäuse National Park awakens from its winter dormancy just in time for the first weekend in May!

With Austria's first "walk-through ecological footprint" and the willow dome, the adventure centre on the banks of the Enns continues to be the most important contact point for visitors of the Gesäuse National Park, both young and old, and this year, as every year, it once again has one or two exciting innovations to offer.

And there is also another reason to celebrate in the Gesäuse National Park: after the "Ecological Footprint" received the Austrian Climate Protection Award in 2012 and was recognised by the Austrian UNESCO Commission as a UN Decade Project for Education for Sustainable Development in 2013, this year two themed trails have received awards!

Photo: Willow Dome © Gesäuse National Park, Hudelist


Start of the GSEISPUR 2014

The soft-mobility offers of the GSEISPUR ( make you easily and flexibly mobile - without your own car. Simply choose your form of mobility, order via the Gesäuse National Park app or GSEISPUR hotline (+43 3637 212) and you will arrive at your destination in the Gesäuse National Park Alpine Region "sustainably". The GSEISPUR is your constant companion - from arrival by train, to flexible mobility on site, to a relaxed departure by train.


Visit to the Ministry

On 9 April, the directors of the national parks met with Federal Minister Andrä Rupprechter for an inaugural visit. This meeting not only served to get to know the directors of all Austrian national parks, but also to discuss current issues that the protected areas are dealing with.

Minister Rupprechter emphasised that the national parks were of great concern to him. He also welcomed the fact that nature conservation was part of his department, the "Ministry for a livable Austria", and stressed that he wanted to work towards bringing nature conservation and agriculture and forestry closer together.


National Park Partners visit Doñana

100 km south of Seville, the Guadalquivir, Spain's largest river, flows into the Atlantic. Mighty sand deposits have formed in the estuary and form a huge dune and periodically flooded wetland, the Marismas. The area is an important resting place for migratory birds and is designated as a national park, named after a historical figure, the "gracious woman" Ana (Doña Ana) Doñana.

The 35-strong tour group from the Gesäuse immersed themselves in this very different landscape for half a day and saw red deer for once in a different environment, grazing on the meagre beach oats. Visiting the national park is only possible by means of guided tours offered by a cooperative from the national park communities. Only at Whitsun is a larger crowd tolerated in Doñana National Park, when a huge contingent of Andalusian faithful make the historic pilgrimage to the Virgin of El Rocío (Romería del Rocío).

Karoline Scheb, the manager of the partner network, owes the representatives of the national park partner businesses a relaxed and well-organised nature experience, an insight into an exotic national park region complete with ocean southern flair and Jeréz (sherry).


Lynx lecture

Hungry for deer? The lynx, the (un)known creature.

On 4 April, Marco Heurich, head of the lynx project in the Bavarian Forest National Park, and Christian Fuxsjäger from the Kalkalpen National Park presented the latest results of lynx research. By transmitting lynx with GPS-GSM collars and extensive crack surveys, many new findings have been obtained in recent years, which also refute numerous myths and prejudices.

The lynx kills about one deer per week and eats the carcass completely if it is not disturbed. In contrast, red deer are only exceptionally among its prey and it poses no danger to domestic animals or humans. 65 interested guests had come to the Pirafelner Inn to also hear about the progress of the Upper Austrian lynx project. In the Kalkalpen National Park, it is still hoped that "Juro", the only male in the region, will emerge after the winter. Otherwise, further releases have to be planned to ensure the reproduction of the brush-eared lynx. Only Europe-wide networking can enable the lynx to survive in the long term.


Lynx lecture

Hungry for deer? The lynx, the (un)known creature.

The lynxes are coming back, also to the Gesäuse! How much space do they have in our cultural landscape, more than bear and wolf? How do lynx live, how much prey do they take, how do they influence the behaviour of cloven-hoofed game? What hunters and other nature enthusiasts need to know about these cats is now well researched. In Central Europe, the lynxes were deliberately exterminated, but they survived in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Through methodical reintroduction measures, small populations are establishing themselves in Switzerland, the Bavarian Forest or even in Upper Austria. With Marco Heurich, Christian Fuxjäger and Herbert Sieghartsleiter, we have invited profound researchers and practitioners on the topic of lynx as discussion partners.


Multimedia lecture Gesäuse & Kalkalpen

Verena and Andreas Jeitler describe the Gesäuse and Kalkalpen National Parks with their camera from the perspective of a mountain hiker. The two explored the area for 137 days, capturing an indescribable variety of moods that astonish even profound connoisseurs of the two national parks.

Predicate: definitely have a look!

The next dates:
18.3 Kulturhaus Liezen
19.3 Volkshaus Rottenmann
21.3. Pirafellner Inn
23.3. Gasthof Post Altenmarkt

each at 19:30

Further information and dates


National Parks Austria Public Relations 2012-2014 announces six "park.schein" scholarships for aspiring writers, young journalists and future professional photographers in March 2014. The scholarships will be awarded to outstanding, talented and ambitious applicants who are inspired and seduced by the beauty of Austria's national parks and at the same time want to experience unforgettable, original moments at the pulse of nature.

You can find more information here.


The National Park Gesäuse Ltd. proudly invites to the puremobility2puremountains conference taking place on 1-3 April 2014 in the National Park Gesäuse, Austria. Start and end of the event will be Vienna Franz Joseph Station where participants board the conference train to the venue.

The motto of the conference - puremobility2puremountains - reflects best what the underlying ETC Southeast Europe project ACCESS2MOUNTAIN is about. Following the principle "sustainable mobility and tourism in sensitive areas of the Alps and the Carpathians" the conference takes place in a highly protected area - the National Park Gesäuse - and is designed as car-free event providing fully-fledged mobility service from and to Vienna or from/to railway station Selzthal (for day-trippers). For more information and registration please visit the official conference site.


Where are the tannins?

Well-attended lecture by fir specialist Wolf Hockenjos in Admont shows us ways to help the fir return to our forests.

The fir is a well-known and ubiquitous tree species in our mountain forests. Well, well known it is, but ubiquitous? In most "classic" montane spruce-fir-beech forests, the fir is at best an occasional guest. If you are lucky, you will find a stately specimen, but more likely a few puny young trees that have been browsed almost beyond recognition.

But now back to the beginning - by nature, firs are an essential component of mixed mountain forests. They have stabilising and ecologically valuable functions. As a deep-rooted tree, which can also form root intergrowths with neighbouring trees, the fir, in contrast to the shallow-rooted spruce, also defies strong storms. At the same time, the special root growth loosens the soil. The litter of the fir is considered mild and easily decomposable, far less "aggressive", i.e. acidic, than that of the spruce. Young firs can remain in the shady undergrowth for up to 150 years until the canopy above them becomes more sparse and they receive more sunlight. Then the fir grows rapidly and can reach enormous dimensions. The natural age is over 500 years. The most stately specimens reach heights of up to 60 metres and their mighty trunks contain up to 40 cubic metres of wood. Such star firs are particularly popular with black woodpeckers, which prefer to build their nesting cavities in these trees.

The tree species is considered storm-, snow-pressure- and climate-stable. Only late frosts are harmful to the fir, as are sulphur emissions from industry. Fortunately, the latter has decreased considerably in recent years.

A very resistant tree species. So why are there hardly any firs? Where have they gone? It is mainly due to forest management that fir trees have almost or completely disappeared from many forests. On the one hand, spruce was heavily promoted for decades. On the other hand, clear-cutting became more and more popular, a type of management that is extremely harmful to the fir. Plenter forests and forests with a femel forest, in which individual trunks are removed, are commercial forests in which the fir also feels at home. Unfortunately, there are only a few positive examples, such as the Bregenzerwald, where the fir trees are nurtured. Since firs are specialised in waiting for a light hole for a long time in the shade, which is a good strategy in natural and well-structured forests with all age classes, they hardly stand a chance in the classic commercial forests where one single age class usually predominates.

In addition to management, hunting of red deer and roe deer also plays a major role. Firs suffer more than almost any other tree species from heavy browsing. Unprotected, they are at the mercy of deer and roe deer populations, which are usually kept artificially high for hunting purposes. This leads to a situation where natural regeneration is completely prevented due to browsing. Fence-out experiments show very clearly the enormous browsing pressure on the firs. Even in the primeval forest Rothwald there is hardly any fir regeneration. Targeted game management and appropriate regulation is therefore the top priority for strengthening the fir, combined with further protective measures such as mechanical protection of the tops.

Storm damage and beetle infestation in spruce-dominated forests show how important it is for mountain forests to be well mixed so that they can function as stable ecosystems. A rethink is already taking place. However, if we want to be able to easily find fir again in our mixed mountain forests, we still need a lot of support!

Source: HOCKENJOST W. 2008: Tannebäume. A future for Abies alba. DRW-Verlag.


LTSER Research Platform Eisenwurzen

The Gesäuse National Park has taken on an important coordinating role in the region for the Eisenwurzen Research Platform. Together with partners from the provinces of Upper and Lower Austria, an attempt is being made to establish a stronger connection between research and the Eisenwurzen region. On 13 February, the kick-off workshop took place in Admont. The LTSER Research Platform Eisenwurzen is the flagship of Austrian long-term research. The core of long-term ecological research is the inclusion of the region, not only as a location and research topic, but also the inclusion of the regional population through appropriate information and offers of research internships and offers or projects for schools and youth groups. The Gesäuse National Park, an important project partner, invited all project partners to a meeting in Admont to discuss future strategies for the continuation of the project and to set priorities. Over the next one and a half years, this project will be supported by the Austrian Academy of Sciences through a research grant.



On 15 February, the Gesäuse National Park and the National Park partner businesses organised the 5th Dirndl Ball. Organiser Karoline Scheb and her team once again conjured up a wonderfully harmonious ball in the rooms of Röthelstein Castle. In addition to many national partners, an illustrious crowd of guests, from mayors Posch, Watzl, Wolf, Lattacher and Hakel to Chamber of Farmers chairman Kettner, was present. Günter Planitzer, newly appointed chairman of the Gesäuse National Park Alpine Region Tourism Association, also used the evening to relax and cultivate contacts. Dressed in Styrian costumes, the guests danced, talked and laughed until the early hours of the morning.


Safety in the winter mountains
The network of Gesäuse National Park partners has recently been opened up to associations as well. The first member of this branch is the Alpine Rescue Service Gesäuse (Mountain Rescue Admont). The new partnership immediately led to a Jointly designed video on the subject of correct behaviour when touring.


Internship Nature ConservationInternship in the field of nature conservation and natural space

The Department of Nature Conservation/Natural Space is looking for an intern for the summer months of 2014. The tasks include the input, maintenance and administration of data, especially in the field of geographical data (ESRI ArcGIS) and literature database (MS Access). Regular field work in the national park area is foreseen.

More details about the call are available for download.


Knowledge database online

The association Nationalparks Austria has launched a new project called "LEGZU". Knowledge of the Austrian National Parks available online! The Austrian National Parks have made a central database for "knowledge management" available online as part of the funded "LEGZU" project. Previously partially hidden "knowledge" (meaning projects, publications and information on data) is now easily accessible to everyone. Not only scientists, but also the general public will have access to this "treasure trove of knowledge". The database also promotes the flow of information between the individual partners (Austrian National Parks, research institutions, etc.).

This "knowledge database" provides the most important information on completed projects, available research results and publications. In the long term, the associated geodata will also be documented in it. Via the link to access the website, which allows queries on projects, documents and also a search by keyword.

Support for this project was provided by the Swiss National Park experts. The implementation is now in the hands of the individual national parks. We are looking forward to this tool raising the profile and value of research in the Austrian National Parks.


Natural feeding

News from the Department of Forest and Wildlife ManagementSince this year's feeding period 2013/2014, the Gstatterbodenbauer red deer feeding area has increasingly been offered grass silage instead of maize silage, in addition to the best hay. This gradual change of feed is part of the management planning for red deer and will also be applied to the second feeding in Gseng from this year on.


InternshipsIn summer 2014 the information office in Admont and the National Park administration in Weng are again looking for committed interns! The Information Office in Admont is looking for an intern to look after the Information Office, the National Park Shop and to provide information and manage the events programme. Ebesno there is the possibility for an administrative internship in the administration in Weng in the months of July and August. The job advertisements are available here as a pdf file.


Events 2014The new National Park events programme takes visitors young and old on a varied journey into a magical realm of nature and a world of wild waters and steep cliffs. With a variety of events, guided hikes and workshops, the Gesäuse National Park invites you to take "time for nature" and experience the Gesäuse.