LIFE - Gesäuse - Conservation strategies for woodlands and rivers in the Gesäuse Mountains, Austria
The project aimed to improve natural habitats surrounding the River Ens and the Johnsbach brook by encouraging the establishment of an ecologically functioning wetland along the water courses and their main tributaries. Species that benefit from restoration of the river habitats include otter (Lutra lutra), Ukrainian brook lamprey (Eudontomyzon mariae), bullhead (Cottus gobio) and common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). The project also takes important first steps towards a long-term goal of converting the forest from spruce dominated, monoculture forests to natural mixed forests. To preserve mountain pastures and species such as black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) and yellow bellied toad (Bombina variegata), the project regulates grazing intensity and access to drinking water on mountain pastures in the project area. Overall, the restoration activities contribute to a greater connectivity and complexity of the landscape. All activities are supported by public relations activities, including information panels and brochures. Specially trained wardens provide visitors with guidance and information on the habitats and wider landscape.