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Biodiversity conservation of the native forests in the Austro-Hungarian border region

In order to counteract the rapid climate change in the Austro-Hungarian border region in practice, as part of the INTERREG project REIN-Forest , regional guidelines for forest reproductive material (FRM) transfer is going to be developed. Reforestation of six demonstration sites is planned with local and with adapted to the future climate FRM of two native tree species, European beech and sessile oak.

As in many parts of the world, climate change has accelerated in the Austro-Hungarian border region as a result of human activities as well. The number of extreme climatic events is increasing, which is proven by series of data. With conditions changing at such a rapid rate, populations of forest trees are not able to adapt in time.

Acorns of sessile oak
Nuts of European beach

According to the downscaled climate models, the rate of temperature rise in the next 50-80 years in the program area will most likely exceed the global average, while precipitation will not increase. This degree of change may jeopardize the sustainment of the stability and biodiversity of the native forest cover in the AT-HU border area. In order to offset the negative effects and to maintain the stability of the forest cover and preserve its biodiversity, harmonised protection measures are needed in the border areas.

young oak

Recommendations for the transfer of forest reproductive material

In the present project, based on the Europe-scale FRM recommendation and transfer system (SusSelect) developed in the SUSTREE project, the partnership will carry out modelling data analysis at regional level for the forests in the project area and develop a bilateral strategy for seed transfer. Based on the bilateral strategy, the movement of reproductive material will be implemented in 6 jointly selected field sites, as a protection measure, using two pre-defined, dominant tree species of the forests of the project area (European beech, sessile oak). A joint management plan will be drawn up to monitor the effectiveness of the measures.

Raising awareness for a wider audience

It is important that a broad audience is targeted in awareness raising events of topics such as “assisted migration” and the conservation of biological diversity. Thus, professional actions are completed through the implementation of targeted activities to raise awareness of the ecological diversity and values of forests.

Project area

The project area extends over the area of the Austrian-Hungarian border and comprises the following 11 NUTS 3 regions: Nord-, Mittel- und Südburgenland, Wien, Wiener Umland-Südteil, Niederösterreich Süd, Graz und Oststeiermark, Győr-Moson-Sopron, Vas und Zala.

Overall project goal

Maintaining the stability of the native forest in the project area, providing ecosystem services and protecting biological diversity in times of climate change through the implementation of coordinated protective measures.

Project acronym: REIN-Forest

Project title: Biodiversity conservation of the native forest in the border region and fostering their ability against the impacts of climate change

Program: INTERREG V-A Austria-Hungary

Project number:  ATHU150

Duration of the project: 27 months (01.10.2020-31.12.2022)

Project partners:

Government Office of Vas County

University of Sopron

Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape

Strategic partners:

Szombathely Forestry Corporation

Provincial Government of Lower Austria (Department for Forestry)

Őrség National Park

Educational District Centre of Szombathely

Educational District Centre of Sárvár

Total budget of the BFW: € 295,000


Dr. Marcela van Loo *, Dr. Heino Konrad, Lambert Weiszenbacher, Erik Szamosvari


Interreg AT-HU 2014-2020:

The project is carried out as part of the Interreg V-A Austria-Hungary program with support from the European Regional Development Fund.