On Tuesday, August 16th, 2016, the Tyrolean Forestry Board (Landesforstdirektion Tirol) gave us the possibility to choose between two exciting and challenging excursions.
One group went hiking on Absamer Vorberg in Tyrol where a major forest fire had burned down 70 ha- thereof 50 ha of forests and destroyed their protection structures. During our hike we learned about the challenges and consequences of this: avalanches, snow gliding, game browsing and erosion. Our guides were extremely well prepared and even managed to show us posters with graphs and data on the mountain!
The second group gathered in a cabin after a short hike and got to enjoy a presentation about Bergwelt Tirol and their perspective on tourism, visitor flow and sports in the forest near Innsbruck. After a delicious lunch we went to a single trail which is a narrow trail for mountain bikers. While still talking about it we even saw a few mountain bikers racing down the trail.
Then we entered a tunnel that was part of the water supply storages of the city of Innsbruck. What an exciting experience!
Before we left we also learned about avalanche barriers which protect the city of Innsbruck and its inhabitants from avalanches.
Huge thanks to the Tyrolean Forestry Board for this amazing day!
On Monday, August 15th, 2016, we traveled to Hallstatt, a town famous for its salt deposits. A rack railway took us up the hill to the entrance of the old salt mine. A long tunnel led us inside the mine and then we used a slide to decend even deeper down into the mountain.
There we saw a fascinating light show inside the cave, the oldest wooden staircase and learned about the history of the “white gold”.
After lunch we continued our trip to EGGER particle board manufacturing where we had a guided tour and could experience the process of producing wood products. Afterwards EGGER provided us a typical Austrian dinner with Wiener Schnitzel.
Thank you for having us!
On this beautiful Sunday, August 14th, 2016, we started the day with the third plenary session of the IFSA General Assembly. It was followed by a presentation on “Stakeholder involvement and conflict solving” by Wilhelm Graiss, teacher at the Agricultural School Raumberg-Gumpenstein.
In the afternoon we were invited by the Styrian Provincial Forests to visit the National Park Gesäuse. Andreas Holzinger, director of the Styrian Provincial Forests welcomed us in the breathtakingly beautiful scenery. During the excursion we heard a lot about the Gesäuse and national parks in general.
Afterwards we were divided into smaller groups and covered a range of important topics including visitor management, forest conversion to regenerating secondary forests and the handling of the bark beetle inside a national park.
To learn more about game management we then continued to visit a feeding place for game. We discussed for example why it is necessary to feed the game during winter in the National Park.
Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious dinner of game goulash from the Styrian Provincial Forests. Thank you for this amazing day!
On August, the 13th, 2016, we travelled to another beautiful area of Austria: the Salzkammergut. Here we were welcomed by the Austrian Federal Forests at the lake Grundlsee. They divided us in two groups in order to provide us with information about two topics: mountain forestry and fishery.
The first group stayed at Grundlsee and got an introduction to calamities in mountain forestry. They were shown the galleries of the bark beatle in a fallen tree and a professional forest worker removing the bark of an infected spruce in order to prevent further spreading of the bark beetle.
In the mean time the second group drove to the Fischwelten of the Austrian Federal Forests in Kanisch where they experienced fish farming according to the principle of sustainability.
Back at the Grundlsee we had lunch and IFSA workshops. Afterwards we changed groups. The last item on the agenda for today was a trip to Altaussee were we observed the “Berge in Flammen” spectacle and fireworks.
Thanks again to the Austrian Federal Forests for the another amazing day!
On August 12th, 2016, we visited MM Forsttechnik GmbH in Frohnleiten (Styria) and learned anything about cable yarding especially in steep terrain, mobile cable cranes and corresponding carriages. For this purpose there were three stations installed on the company premises. At the first one we could learn about the history of MM Forsttechnik GmbH, at the second about the carriages und at the third about the cables and how the carriage works in detail. We were really lucky to see a special cable crane called Synchrofalke in action.
In the afternoon we were invited to Lieco GmbH & Co KG in Kalwang (Styria) to see how to produce forest plants, how to store their seeds and the importance of appropriate provenance, also regarding altitude.
We saw their specially invented containers for distribution and were able to experience the importance of those containers for correct root growth.
Sincere thanks to MM Forsttechnik GmbH and Lieco GmbH & Co KG!
On August 11th, 2016, in the noon we have been in BOKU experimental forest where the participants could choose two of four workshops:
Rupert Seidl (Institute of Silviculture) gave us an insight into patterns and responses in forest ecosystems all over the world. Harald Vacik (Institute of Silviculture) was talking about rapid assessment of ecosystem services. Philipp Toscani (Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Ecosystems) explained us how forest management planning is working in Austria and Karl Stampfer (Institute of Forest Engineering) showed us Austrian forest road network developement.
Afterwards we drove to Forestry School Bruck (HBLA für Forstwirtschaft Bruck an der Mur) where an amazing event took place – International Evening!
To surprise everybody we had a suckling pig barbecue accompanied by traditional Austiran accordion music. Another really special thing offered to the participants was Burning Mozart.
According to that the participants represented their home countries with delicious food and drinks, traditional clothing and cultural stuff.
On August 10th, 2016, our journey led us to the Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW). There we were welcomed by deputy head Markus Neumann who gave us a brief overview over the history and structure of BFW and introduced us to the workshop leaders.
Afterwards we split into four smaller groups. Each participant had the chance to join two of the four workshops. (Click on the names of the workshop leaders to download the presentations!)
Thomas Geburek (Department of Forest Genetics) gave us a practical demonstration of the bottleneck effect with 100 colorful sweets and a blindfold.
Gernot Hoch (Department of Forest Protection) let the students split into small working groups and discuss solutions for current problems in the field of pest control by the example of the Asian Longhorned Beetle and Pine Wilt Nematode.
Ernst Leitgeb and Erwin Herzberger (Department of Forest Ecology and Soils) gave us an introduction into the most common soils in Austria. As they had to adapt to the rainy weather, they showed us instruments for sampling and measuring soil related data.
Ambros Berger, Alexandra Freudenschuß und Thomas Gschwantner (Department of Forest Inventory) talked about Austrian National Forest Inventory and let their group measure the heights and diameters of surrounding trees. Christoph Bauerhansl showed them remote sensing methods in their lab. You can read about their results here and view the raw data here.
After a great barbecue lunch we walked through the Schönbrunn castle park towards the Gloriette where we took another group picture.
The day ended with a tram ride in a historic Viennese tram that took us through the entire city along the Vienna Ring Road and ended at the dormitory.