Forests cover about 33% of the European land area and are the main land use form in Austria (47.6%). Society demands various forest ecosystem services, which may be summarized as economic, protection, welfare and recreational functions of forests. Forests play a major role in the current climate change debate since they are directly affected by changing climatic conditions but also mitigate climate change effects. Without forests, the global CO2 concentration would be 30 % higher than it is today. Forests products are considered as a renewable resource and greenhouse gas emissions are avoided, if forest products substitute fossil-based materials and energy.

The term sustainability introduced by the forester Hans Carl von Carlowitz in the early 18th century was primarily related to sustainable production of timber. Today forest management aims at the sustainable provision of multiple demanded products and services. Silvicultural practices are employed to maintain forests in desired states or to steer forests towards desired conditions. These potentially conflicting demands are implemented through silvicultural practices or forest management activities integrating forest data with models concepts at different spatial as well as temporal scales.

The Institute of Silviculture at the BOKU University of Natural Resources of Life Sciences in Vienna is the only academic institution at University level in Austria, which is active in research and teaching forest management. Within the BOKU key expertise “land use and terrestrial ecosystems”, the Institute of Silviculture develops forest management concepts to accommodate the demands of society by integrating ecological, technical and socio-economic drivers. Our work links research with stakeholder interests represented by forest enterprises, policy makers, nature conservation and environmental organizations, and other stakeholders.

The overall ambition of our work is to foster Sustainable Forest Management, ranging from planning of sustainable harvesting operations to assessing the impact of forest management on the flux dynamics within forest ecosystems or climate change impacts on forest ecosystem services. We combine a strong portfolio of methods and data to address scientific knowledge gaps, respond to demands of stakeholders and emerging topics. Integrating topics, methods and data, we develop and refine forest management concepts worldwide to provide optimized solutions for the provision of forest ecosystem services.

quality management system

To strengthen our efforts we have committed ourselves to the implementation and maintenance of a quality management system according to the standards of ISO 9001:2015. This quality management system assists us in improving our performance and accounting for the changing demands of our stakeholders (e.g., students, research institutions, funding agencies, forest enterprises, the general public).

Six key-processes were defined:

  • Planning and performing of
    national and international research projects
  • Planning and performing of lectures
  • Selection, planning and supervising of PhD
  • Selection, planning and supervising of master theses
  • Selection, planning and supervising of bachelor theses
  • Community Services