The GIS-based hydrotope model is a tool, which provides the utilization of capacious information categories for the deduction of forest management concepts for drinking water protection in an operational way.

Silvicultural concepts for the protection of drinking water resources

Forest ecosystems contribute on a high level to the protection of drinking water resources and to the protection from natural hazards. Hence, silvicultural treatment of the forests requires appropriate know-how regarding tree species selection, forest stand structure and measures for maintenance and regeneration. Especially forests with multi-layered crown structures, soil vegetation cover and tree species, which are able to develop deep rooting systems, mitigate the soil eroding force of intensive precipitation events and are also able to store high amounts of precipitation water. The management of drinking water protection forests has to consider the required surrounding conditions, in order that the numerous springs provide cool drinking water throughout the whole year.

In order to fulfil these requirements, a hydrotope-model was created based on the publications of Engel (1996) and Gurtz et al. (1999), which was adapted to the specific demands of drinking water protection. By the means of this model, huge watershed areas can be stratified. For each hydrotope, silvicultural guidelines were defined, having the improvement of the water protection functionality of the forest stands as overall purpose.

Within low mountain ranges and the Alps, forests gain additional importance within the context of flood prevention and the protection against alpine hazards.


  • Forestry basics for a decision support system and management guidelines for a sustainable assurance of drinking-water resources within multiple-purpose forestry (land-use) on Carbonate stands.
    This project was fulfilled in the course of the "KATER II"-program (KArst waTER research program, INTERREG III B CADSES, funded by the EDRF).
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  • Effects of sivicultural techniques on the water-balance and the element-dynamics in characteristic stands (silvicultural treatments) of the watershed protection forests of the city of Vienna.
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  • Models of vegetation-succession under the influence of climate change and land-use change and its consequences to the karstic water balance within the water protection zone of the City of Vienna (A) subalpine and alpine vegetation part, (B) forests part.
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  • Investigations about soil water balance and runoff characteristics of carbonatic sites within the water protection zone of the City of Vienna. Differentiation according to characteristic forest types.
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  • Elaboration and practical service of silvicultural methods for selected "Weiserbestände" in the protection forests of the forest management unit Wildalpen.
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