Styrian Forestry Board

The international Alpine Convention (the Alpine Forest Protocol) recommends that the Alpine forests are in great danger and is calling for comprehensive counter-measures. The investigation and service development, with respect to the impact of forest degradation on selected functional parameters, can be considered as an important task in the development of framework guidelines for forestry management strategies and for a sustainable management of forests. Forestry Management Administration needs detailed, province-level information about the structure and state of the forests. Most inventory techniques employed by forestry management departments for the mapping of forests to date have relied on aerial photography and ground-based surveys. Because of the high cost of data collection, these inventories were prepared only for smaller forest sites and at infrequent intervals or from sample data of the Austrian Forest Inventory. While providing key statistical data on larger regions, these surveys do not allow the derivation of the spatial (wall to wall) distribution of the various forest function parameters. However, it is exactly this area-level information, which is needed for many planning procedures and analytical studies. As a consequence of these issues the Forestry Boards require operational services for selected functional parameters, focussing on the protective functions, which are closely related to

degradation issues. Classes such as Improved Forest Density, Natural Growth Classes, Tree / Stand height, Vertical Forest Structure, Natural Regeneration are all examples of forest function parameters that will be mapped.