Fir germ and fungi on deadwood

Press release 14.03.2022

Contractual nature conservation with stepping stone biotopes

Join the Nature Network


You own an area of forest and want to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity? You could take 0.5-1.5 hectares out of use for 10 years for a fee through contractual nature conservation. In this way, small stepping stones can be created outside our protected areas that help animal and plant species to migrate and survive in the long term. This is not an extension of existing protected areas, but islands in between that can be taken out of use for a fee.


Stepping stones are needed to cross a stream without getting wet. This is exactly how it is for animals in an environment shaped by humans. Habitats are increasingly fragmented and reduced by agriculture, settlement and road construction. Often the distance between one suitable habitat and another is too great for a species to spread. If migration, dispersal and genetic exchange are no longer possible, the risk of (local) extinction increases. However, "stepping stones" - small islands of suitable habitats - can effectively link larger habitats.


What can I do?

  • Every landowner has the possibility to create his own green space as a "stepping stone" for different species. The effort is small, smaller than if he would manage the land. Simply do nothing. Don't mow the lawn, don't clear away the leaves, don't remove the debris and dead wood, leave the hedge strips standing, etc.


  • With the "ConnectForBio" project, the BfW (Federal Forest Research Centre) has also created a new funding opportunity for forest owners: Here, an out-of-use provision of forest areas between 0.5 and 1.5 hectares is financially compensated. Forestry measures - except those prescribed by the Forest Act - are not carried out for 10 years and scientific monitoring studies are carried out.

More information and registration on the project homepage:


Enquiry notice:

About the content of this article:

Magdalena Kaltenbrunner, Tel: 0664-82 52 310


General press enquiries:

Andreas Hollinger, Tel: 0664-82 52 305



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Rights notice: Use exclusively for reports in connection with this press release and with citation of the image rights. Any other use of the image material requires the consent of Gesäuse National Park GmbH.

© Gesäuse National Park / Johannes Pötscher

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