Green Infrastructure Networks in Austria

In Austria efforts towards Green Infrastructure Networks have been made by a number of federal states individually, while other federal states do not yet explicitly deal with the topic of habitat fragmentation and habitat corridors. So far, no coordinated, holistic approach has been made by the country as a whole although the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 as well as the national Austrian Biodiversity Strategy 2020+ (amongst a variety of other national and international conventions and laws) demand action.

Austrian federal states that engage in creating Green Infrastructure Networks often proceed methodically different from their neighbouring states and their outcomes vary due to the method used. The concepts generally work with habitat corridors (green corridors) or the like and aim on protecting green space from urban sprawl and soil sealing. However, differences exist in the use of focal species and in the level of relevance, ranging from local to regional, supra-regional and international significance.

Also the legal status of identified Green Infrastructure Networks differs from federal state to federal state. In Styria, for example, Green Zones are decreed by the authorities and are therefore legally binding, whereas in Carinthia Wildlife Corridors still only serve as a technical concept. In the federal state of Salzburg Green Corridors were lined out, and Pinzgau – one out of five major regions within Salzburg – has already protected its supra-regional corridors by decree.

Most important however, is the mere existence of Green Infrastructure Networks concepts and the visibility of these, as well as their accessibility by stakeholders and parties concerned. One of the main objectives of the underlying project of the poster presented was thus to gain a clear and complete overview of all concepts and projects in Austria concerning Green Infrastructure Networks and habitat defragmentation and to make them accessible for users and the public.

By methods of literature review, stakeholder workshops and structured telephone interviews the required information and data was collected and all current projects and concepts on Green Infrastructure Networks are being made visible on the webpage, where information and spatial data will also be available for download.

The poster shows all existing and provided large-scale concepts on Green Infrastructure Networks in Austria. Equally important, the poster shows all parts of the country where no such concepts are provided yet. Objective of the project and of the poster is to graphically demonstrate gaps in a nationwide Green Infrastructure Network and to indicate the need for action.

habitat corridors; green corridors; wildlife passages; defragmentation; green infrastructure