10 measures for Austria’s forests

Forest impressions
Photo: BML / Alexander Haiden

The Forest Fund Act was adopted in the Austrian National Council on 7 July 2020. The Forest Fund comprises an investment volume of 350 million Euros and is one of the biggest packages of measures that have been taken for domestic forests over the past few years.

Great pressure and challenges

Austrian forestry has to cope with numerous stress factors due to climate change. In 2019, around 62 percent of the total Austrian timber harvest was calamity wood. In addition, the Corona pandemic has caused a collapse in demand for the raw material and a massive drop in exports to traditional markets such as Italy. The investment package of the Federal Government is to support forestry in this difficult situation.

Package of measures for forestry

The measures of the Forest Fund aim at the development of climate-fit forests, the promotion of biodiversity in forests, and the increased use of the resource of wood as an active contribution to climate change mitigation. Within the framework of the Forest Fund, forest owners are granted a compensation for the loss of value caused by bark beetle. In order to reduce further infestation of Austrian forests with bark beetles, re-afforestation, tending measures, the establishment of dry and wet deposits for damaged wood as well as mechanical debarking are supported as forest protection measures. The Forest Fund also includes measures to prevent forest fire and research measures on “wood gas and biofuels”.

  1. Re-afforestation and tending measures after damage events
  2. Development of climate-fit forests - forest tending
  3. Compensation for bark beetle damage caused by climate change
  4. Establishment of deposits for damaged wood
  5. Mechanical debarking as a forest protection measure
  6. Measures to prevent forest fire
  7. Research priority and research facility for the production of  wood gas and biofuels
  8. Research priority “Climate-fit forests”
  9. Measures to increase the use of wood as a raw material
  10. Strengthening, preserving and promoting biodiversity in forests