Forest + Culture Network
The objective is to strengthen rural regions in their competitiveness and innovative power. Partners outside the realm of forestry are to be integrated to a greater extent.
Cooperation is needed! Factual and economic opportunities for both the present and the future should be identified and illustrated by presenting "good practice" examples/projects.
Forest + Culture Network
In many places practical experiences have demonstrated that "cultural heritage" can generate income and that museum facilities can at the same time be exciting workshops for the future. If professionally implemented, making use of the cultural dimension of forests can contribute to rural development.
The forestry expertise of past generations is a valuable treasure which must be preserved and which can make a concrete contribution to identity in rural areas - not only from a cultural-historical and educational point of view.
If professionally implemented by or together with the owner, the use of cultural resources can also play a quite important role in long-term economic security. However, with the internationalisation of markets individual initiatives often lack the economic power they would need to position their offers appropriately. Cooperation is necessary!
Also today the major objective is to make a wide range of experts aware of the diversity of the subject matter and the existing - sometimes underestimated - potential and, last but not least, to demonstrate possibilities for future cooperation. Networking within the forestry and timber industry, with private and public museums, science, but also tourism is necessary. Without professional and strategic links, effective activities that are accepted by the customer and economically successful for the company will rarely lead to success.
Establishment at the Forestry Training Centre at Ort / Gmunden in 2003
Under the title "Österreichs Forstwirtschaft: Kultur - Tourismus - Aufklärung / Neue Wege - Neue Kunden" (Forestry in Austria: Culture - Tourism - Information / New paths - New customers) the wide range of themes and the connections with related subject disciplines were illustrated. Based on the first considerations of the Austrian Forestry Association and the (former) Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW) (today BML), and on the fundamental question "What is forest culture?", nine speakers (from the fields of research, forestry, museum and tourism business practice, public relations and administration) presented their work for discussion.
At the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management and the Expert Committee on Forest History of the Austrian Forestry Association, the network was, on 21 October 2003, established at the Forestry Training Centre Ort (Forstliche Ausbildungsstätte Ort) with the workshop "Forst-Kultur in Österreich“.
With his explanations on the recently launched project "Initiative Agrar Kulturerbe" of the German Society for Agricultural History, which aims at recording the enormous wealth of cultural heritage from agriculture and forestry in the German-speaking area over the next few years, Prof. A. SEIDL (Weihenstephan University of Applied Sciences) demonstrated impressively that Austria is not alone in its work approaches.
The initiation of the Austria-wide Forest + Culture Network was clearly welcomed by all participants to the event, who at the same time called for deeper cooperation - which has since been and will continue to be implemented step by step in daily practice. A wide range of technical and scientific projects are underway and networking has started.
Since its creation the activities of the network have produced a multitude of visible results. Continuous and successful efforts are taken to attract new professional partners for the network.
Certificate Course ‘FORST + KULTUR‘
The certificate course ‘Forst + Kultur‘ (Forest + Culture), a unique training project in Europe, was developed by the former BMLFUW and the Austrian Forestry Association with the participation of the Forestry Training Centre at Ort. It consists of four modules which have so far been offered within two calendar years. The training course is in its fifth cycle now.
Many graduates of the certificate course have successfully implemented forest + culture activities in regional and forestry practice.