Pilot Study 1

Adapted forest management at LTER Zöbelboden

Overall aim

This study focused on climate change adaptation in forests in the Austrian Alps where there is a growing level of uncertainty in relation to climate change impacts, and where the risks of incorrect silvicultural management are increasing.

Study area

The Federal Environmental Agency has run a long-term ecosystem research site (LTER Zöbelboden) with karstic dolomite since 1992. The forest types at LTER Zöbelboden represent the majority of forest types in the Northern Limestone Alps in Austria. Long-term intensive measurements of climate and of air pollution and its effects on forest ecosystems are carried out. In addition, catchment runoff is monitored. Today, the site is one of the best-known forested karst catchments in Europe and is used in numerous monitoring and research projects.

Further information on the project is available on the website of the Austrian Environment Agency.


The core of Pilot Study 1 was the development of model-based scenarios of climate change impacts on the amount and quality of water runoff, which is influenced by forest management.  A forest ecosystem model (Landscape DNDC) was used together with a hydrological catchment model (University of Freiburg). High resolution rain event sampling provided information on event-driven pollutant transportation (Joanneum Research). Forest management options were defined by local forest managers and implemented in the models.


Pilot Study 1 Report: Adapted forest management in Austria