Wilderness Area Dürrenstein - Austria

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Wilderness Area Dürrenstein

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General Site Description: 

The „Wilderness Dürrenstein“ was founded in 2002 as Austria's only category I area according to the IUCN guidelines (Strict Nature Reserve/Wilderness Area). Category I areas are the most stringently protected natural landscapes. Visitors may only enter when participating in a guided tour. The Wilderness Dürrenstein covers an area of about 3500 ha and is characterized by the largest and vastest natural forests of Austria, which have not been cultivated or managed since the last ice age. The old growth spruce-fir-beech forest „Rothwald“ is the core area, which covers approximately 400 ha. It is located at the southern slopes of Dürrenstein – a mountain in the northern limestone Alps of Lower Austria. The research priorities are interdisciplinary monitoring and the steady continuation of the species inventory. Monitoring focuses on the impacts of wildlife and silvicultural management, ancient woodland indicator species (mainly fungi, woodpeckers and xylobiont beetles), the collection of climate data, the population ecology and impact of natural disturbances on the forest ecosystem. Furthermore, the „Wilderness Dürrenstein“ is involved in a resettlement project of the Ural Owl, which aims at establishing a survivable population of this species in Austria. There is only few infrastructure in the wilderness area. A gravel road provides access to the management zone of alpine pastures. In the eastern part, a gravel road forms a small part of the outer border. The accessibility of the core parts (virgin forest) of the area is difficult and only possible by foot. Regarding vehicles and appliances: 1 ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) 2 observation stations for climate data 1 observation station for photometry (Dark Sky Association) 3 infrared scouting cameras (in 2012, 25 new cameras will be installed) 2 huts (one inside the area, one nearby), no electricity Available data: Climate data (temperature, wind force, wind direction, precipitation and global irradiance), FFH types of habitats, biodiversity data / species lists (bryophyta, fungi, bats, grouse, selected birds of prey, woodpeckers, xylobiont beetles, lepidoptera, locusts, odonata, diptera, ants, selected hymenoptera), results of research projects on forest ecosystem dynamics, soil organisms, the effects of game and small mammals on tree rejuvenation...

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General Characteristics, Purpose, History

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Size : 

3 500.00ha

Purpose of Site : 

Strict Protection of the core area, which ist the pristine Forest "Rothwald" (IUCN Cat. 1a: Strict nature reserve), important research site for topics concerning forest ecosystems and disturbances, re-wilding of the area surrounding the "Rothwald" (breakdown of Picea abies, transformation to mixed forest), environmental education and visitor program


Latitude: 47.700000000000
Longitude: 15.083300000000