Description of solution
Mountain forests (esp. protection forests) play a crucial role in protecting people, permanent human settlements and infrastructure in Alpine settings.The environmental and social benefits in this case study are:(i) Securing the protective function of forests against natural hazards (floods, mudslides and landslides) and(ii) enhancing social and economic vitality (including ecological stability) of the region.
The case study region covers an area of 2,640.85 km2 and is home to 84,964 inhabitants in 28 municipalitiesThe total forest area is 118,000 ha and showed an increase of 3.5% between the 1990s and late 2000s
Local population puts pressure on political bodies which have to take action (development of plans, technical and financial support schemes) for securing relevant environmental and social benefits.<ul><li>The Austrian Forest Act and the Rural Development Programme is a useful model for incentivising good silvicultural practices (for mountain forestry).</li><li>Yet, some degree of conflicting interests between stakeholders remain: Damage caused by game animals as well as support measures for alpine pastures (‘clearance’ of forests) are identified as major factors negatively impacting the protection function.</li><li>Climate change and the increase of natural hazard incidents will likely aggravate the challenges for protective mountain forests.</li></ul>
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 633814