LIFE habitat networks

LIFE "Habitat networks - Networks of life”

In 2010 the National Park Thayatal started an Austria-wide offensive to promote wildcats and forest networking.

Five BUND rural organisations, the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research and the National Park Thayatal have united under the project management of BUND Germany as a project entity to draw attention to the theme "habitat networks”. The importance of networking woodland habitats will be demonstrated during this communication project on the basis of the life situation of wildcats. The campaign aims to inform the general public with selective information about the meaning of habitat networks and thus promote the implementation of networking measures. The project is based on results and experiences of the German initiative "wildcat rescue network”. In doing so, a nationwide model for the networking of 6 million ha of woodland on 20.000 km of "green corridor” for the main species wildcat has already been developed.

Since there is still very little information about the proliferation of wildcats in Austria, the main focus is not set on networking measures, but rather on other activities:

  • Construction of an Austrian wildcat network which focuses on the municipalities in which wildcats are sighted. Beside the targeted integration of stakeholders, the general public is also addressed through the organisation of speeches, the presentation of wildcat exhibits, reports and surveys in municipal news.
  • Expansion of the existing homepage supplemented by a wildcat-newsletter.
  • Organisation of an annual symposium for cross-linking Austrian activities with regard to the protection of wildcats and networking of woodland habitats.
  • Designing a wildcat exhibition on the situation of wildcats in Austria and the problems caused by the fragmentation of habitats.
  • Cooperation with other wildcat projects - for the coordination of Austrian-wide activities, the "Wildcat Platform” has already been created.

The campaign "Habitat networks - Networks of life” will be implemented with the support of the financing instrument of the European Union, LIFE.

Wildlife corridors of supra-regional importance in Austria and their planed safeguarding

For wild animals living in large-scale habitats such as the red deer, brown bear, lynx and wild boar, wide inter-connected areas of woodland are considered as vital habitats and retreat areas in Austria. The networking of such big game populations calls for a common consensus and supra-regional as well as cross-sector coordination in our intensively used cultural landscape, that go way beyond property and administrative borders (communal and national borders), and it also requires a certain legal harmonisation of federal laws. This is particularly important for the safeguarding of supra-regional and national as well as transborder international "gene flow corridors”.
Habitat networking (in german language)[PDF, 179KB]

Wild animal crossing facilities over carriers

The concept of "wild animal passages” is examining the necessary width of wild animal crossing facilities.
Wild animal passages (in german language)[PDF, 59KB]

Alps-Carpathians corridor

The Austrian Federal Forestry Association and the WWF apply their know-how to the management of protected areas, habitat networking and the protection of endangered species. According to the recommendations of the Fauna Flora Habitat Directive (92/43/EEC) of the European Union, the conservation of species and habitats is being promoted, particularly those of big predators such as bears, lynxes and wolves.

For the protection of the Alps-Carpathians corridor, the wildlife corridor between the Alps and the Carpathians, a large transborder and inter-disciplinary project was started in 2008.

In the context of a feasibility study by WWF Austria and DAPHNE, and with the support of the Federal Forests, an expert and stakeholder workshop was organized to identify the action needed and the necessary measures.

Dissertation Habitat networking in Austria

KÖHLER's dissertation, 2005, deals with habitat networking in Austria. He presents the possible primary migration axes of large wood mammals with the help of an expert-based GIS-modeling.
Dissertation Habitat networking in Austria, Clemens Köhler (in german language)[PDF, 3.9MB]