LTER Hohe Tauern National Park (NPHT) - Austria

Basic Information
Site Name
LTER Hohe Tauern National Park (NPHT)
Short name
Site Manager
Site Description
Hohe Tauern NP was established more than 40 years ago as one of the biggest protected areas in Central Europe to protect at long-term wide areas of the Austrian main-ridge of the Alps. The 1.856 square kilometre Hohe Tauern National Park is split into a 1.213 square kilometre core zone and a 643 square kilometre buffer zone and stretches over three provinces. Until the first and largest national park in Austria was actually created, the three provinces of Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol had to establish the corresponding legal framework. The Provincial Parliament of Carinthia passed the legislation to create the Hohe Tauern National Park in 1981. Salzburg followed with its national park legislation in 1984, followed by Tyrol in 1992. In this 40 years Hohe Tauern NP established the Nationalpark idea in its region working together with all stakeholders (land owners, tourism, majors, hunting organisations, governmental departments…). The International Union for the Conservation of Nature IUCN awarded Carinthia in 2001 and Salzburg and Tyrol in 2006 with the international recognition of a national park with its "Category II" listing. The distinction that the national park has with a core zone, where nature can develop without human influence and a buffer zone, where traditional cultivation could be continued was key for gaining this international recognition. Contractual agreements between landowners, hunters and the national park paved the way and were pioneering for many protected areas. Hohe Tauern NP contains 3 main zones: - core zone (km²): 1.078 - buffer zone (km²): 643 - special protected areas (km²): 135 About 845 km² of the area is nature zone, which remains untouched by humans (no land use based on IUCN criteria, i.e. no hunting, no grazing). The altitudinal belts from the valleys to the summits of the three-thousand-metre-tall mountains represent an exceptional biodiversity. This is home to many plants and wildlife species originating from the Central Asian tundra, the Arctic and even Southern Europe. The preservation of all significant Alpine ecosystems across large areas of the Hohe Tauern National Park has been unimpaired. More than one third of all plant species recorded in Austria can be found in the national park. For mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, this figure is at around 50%. Even those animals that were nearly extinct in almost all of Europe at the beginning of the 19th century are now provided a safe habitat in the Hohe Tauern National Park. This impressive biodiversity is a result of the different prevailing climatic, geological, geomorphological and hydrological conditions in the high mountains and the differing adaptation strategies of the plants and animals. The Tauern Window – a unique tectonic window in terms of shape and size – provides insight into the deepest tectonic layer of the Alps and is thus key for understanding the geological structure of the Alps. Rocks of differing ages, different origins and different chemical composition harbour a genuine hoard of up to 200 different minerals. Nature protection (ecosystems/Natura2000 habitats) and species conservation projects play a big role in the work and history of Hohe Tauern NP (e.g. bearded vulture, ibex, golden eagle, …). The NP and its work do not stop at the protected areas borders and for a lot of species it is important that the whole region is aware of its impacts on biodiversity. According to the altitude gradation of the Hohe Tauern National Park "high mountain habitat types" are typical. Based on the aerial photo interpretation of the National Park montane to alpine grassland and pastures dominate with a third. This also reflects the zoning with the outer zone in the sense of an Alpine cultural landscape zone with alpine pastures – and the transition to the high alpine core zone. The core zone is formed by the "eternal ice" of the glaciers around the highest mountains of Austria as well as scree slopes with and without pioneer vegetation dominate. CORINE Land Cover L3 (2018): 35 % bare rocks, 24 % natural grasslands, 20 % sparsely vegetated areas, 9 % coniferous forest, 7 % glaciers and perpetual snow, 2 % moors and heathland, 1 % pastures
Last modified
2023-12-01 12:12:51


General Characteristics and Status
Site Status
Year Established
Observed properties
Precipitation Sum:    1388 mm
Temperature Mean: 3.63 °C
Standard Reference Period: 1981 - 2010
Affiliation and Network Specific Information
EUROPARCThe affiliation of this site with "EUROPARC" is not verified by the network on DEIMS-SDR.
LTER AustriaThe affiliation of this site with "LTER Austria" is not verified by the network on DEIMS-SDR.
biodiversity research (Red List, Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive)
biodiversity research (Red List, Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive)
characteristic alpine ecosystems
characteristic alpine ecosystems
biotope mapping
biotope mapping
Multidisciplinary, highly standardized, long-term monitoring program of terrestrial ecosystems
Multidisciplinary, highly standardized, long-term monitoring program of terrestrial ecosystems
Long-term monitoring of high elevation aquatic ecosystems in the Alps
Long-term monitoring of high elevation aquatic ecosystems in the Alps
Centroid/Representative Coordinates

Latitude: 47.108531 Longitude: 12.404147

Elevation (min)
Elevation (max)

Site information [.json]

Centroid/representative coordinates [.shp] [.kml]
Bounding Box [.shp] [.kml]
Boundaries [.shp] [.kml]