Bark Beetle Breakthrough
New potential for acceptance of non-intervention management by foresters
A new consensus is emerging between conservationists and forest managers on management of bark beetle in non-intervention circumstances.
The breakthrough centres on an Austrian initiative to provide guidance on dealing with bark beetle outbreaks in Austrian national parks and wilderness areas, without compromising the non-intervention philosophy in the core zone of these areas and at the same time providing sufficient protection to surrounding landowners and their managed forests.
This is the result of an intensive discussion process between Austrian conservationists, landowners, forest management authorities, park administrations and the Austrian Ministry of Forests, Agriculture, Environment and Water Management.
The initiative is based on development of a zonation model, which foresees a bark beetle control zone of varying width around the non-intervention zones of the protected areas. It builds on recent research and practical experience in the Kalkalpen National Park and the Dürrenstein Wilderness Area, both of which adhere to a strict non-intervention management regime in their core zones: 15600 ha in Kalkalpen, 3500 ha in Dürrenstein.
The model is inspired by a comparable zonation in the oldest parts of the Bavarian Forest National Park, but it is more sophisticated than the Bavarian model. It now enjoys the broad support of Austrian conservationists and forest management authorities alike.
The initiative is explained in a Position Paper which marks a milestone in Austrian wilderness policy. It will hopefully provide a basis for setting up further large scale non-intervention areas in the spruce-dominated mountain forests of Austria and elsewhere in Europe.