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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-01-01 - 2025-12-31

This research project will revolutionize forest inventory throughout Austria in a long-term and sustainable way. Thus, the project is of nationwide relevance . Due to the practical and target group oriented nature of the project, the research results will be available to a broad audience and will provide forest owners, forest enterprises, service providers and authorities with a planning tool for the creation and maintenance of climate-smart forests. The methods to be developed in the project should be implementable as a standard solution for the highly precise and spatially explicit inventory of raw wood reserves and the operational planning of forest enterprises based on it. By combining modern, laser-based field survey methods (partly with commercially available mobile devices such as Apple iPhone and iPad) and remote sensing methods, planning uncertainties of careful and sustainable forest management can be minimized, the productivity of different timber harvesting methods can be predicted and thus the risks and costs of forest enterprises can be reduced. The methods thus contribute to the preservation of protective forest tasks and nature conservation functions as well as to the establishment of "climate-smart" mountain forests in Austria. The Austrian forest ownership communities and larger forest enterprises with regular sample inventory and forest management benefit from digital inventory solutions with person-carried laser scanners (PLS) as well as the area-accurate stock and assortment and productivity forecasts achieved by combining PLS data with remote sensing data. Low-threshold access to an easy-to-use and digital inventory and planning tool will create incentives for regular and sustainable forest management in Austria's small private forests.

The invasive Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is increasingly migrating into habitat types worthy of protection, where, due to its rapid growth, its low soil, site and climate requirements, its high capability of reproduction via root suckers and stump sprouts, its strong vegetative reproduction and massive production of seeds and due to its allelopathic properties, it endangers rare plant species and associated animal species. In the present project, an attempt is being made to combat invasive Tree-of-Heaven on the dry grassland site Dürrham (Heißlände) in the Lower Lobau, which is worthy of protection, and in the FFH habitat types 91G0 (Pannonian oak-hornbeam forest), 91H0 (Pannonian downy oak forest) and in the FFH habitat type 6210 (Trespen-fescue-limestone dry grassland) on the Bisamberg, respectively. Furthermore, soil as well as potentially susceptible dicotyledonous plants will be sampled and screened for the agent V. nonalfalfae (see below) on both sites in spring 2024 and 2025. The control is to be carried out using the biological control method developed at the Institute of Forest Entomology, Forest Pathology and Forest Protection (BOKU University) in 2011 on the basis of the native wilt fungus Verticillium nonalfalfae, which has already proven to be sustainable, cost-efficient, but also quickly and specifically effective in numerous series of experiments. The control is therefore also in line with the biodiversity strategy Austria 2030+ of the BMK.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-04-01 - 2026-03-31

The overall aim of this project is to provide practical guidance on the successful restoration of native forests in the Ethiopian highlands. To address this, we will use an approach that will strengthen the supply of native tree species, combined with investigations of establishment of this material in tree species diverse plantations. This will be realized by strengthening the national reproductive material supply by establishment of seedling seed orchards of the target species (Juniperus procera, Prunus africana, Podocarpus gracilior, Albizia gummifera, Olea europaea sub sp. cuspidata, Cordia africana, Millettia ferruginea), methods of vegetative propagation (primarily for Juniperus procera but also for other species), and investigation of the growth of the target species in the tree species diverse plots. In the plots, the mineral nutrient requirements tree species and plant protection methods to aid successful establishment will be addressed. The HIGH FIVE project will build on the experience and data gained in previous projects by the consortium, which is made up of two Austrian partners, the Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW) and the University of Natural Resources and Life Science (BOKU), and the Ethiopian Forest Development agency (EFD) and Bahir Dar University (BDU) from Ethiopia, and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) from Kenya.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations