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Katerina Arzoglou

Katerina Arzoglou

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Published by AmericanFarmSchool

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Published by: AmericanFarmSchool on Nov 09, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Name: Arzoglou Aikaterini
Forest Road Construction Policies in Austria
 There is a distinct difference concerning regulations of forest development between countries of Central Europe, e.g. Austria, Germany, Switzerland, with"old", well-established forestry systems and "young" countries, e.g. Australia,Canada, New Zealand, with a rapidly developing forestry sector orientedtowards sustainable production and environmental restrictions. While the former amended gradually their traditional forest legislation according to modernrequirements in a more general way, the latter try to regulate forest roadconstruction in the context of forest harvesting in detail by means of forest practices codes close to textbooks which are either recommended or evenenacted.A joint problem of the forestry sector on the political and practical levelworldwide is environmental concern about forest development and utilization.Instead of a permanent confrontation, pragmatic and integral solutions must befound that are well adapted to the socio-economic and environmental conditionsof a country.The author deals with Austrian and international experiences in policiesand regulations of planning and building forest roads in the context of multi- purpose management and environmentally friendly techniques. Additionally the paper contains a chapter on practical recommendations oriented towards aroading performance in compliance with the legal requirements. The annexcontains some facts and figures of Austria, which decidedly influence theforestry system.
The Austrian forest legislation - A brief review
 Forestry regulations in Central Europe date back to the middle ages asconstruction timber and fuel wood were commodities of prime economicimportance at that time. Especially in the Alpine mountains of Austria the production of salt and iron depended on the steady delivery of huge quantities of fuel wood and charcoal so that forest assessments aiming at a regular forestrysystem with sustainable yield commenced in that region in the early sixteenthcentury.
Though numerous forestry regulations existed in the Austrian provinces inthe mid-nineteenth century, many mountain forests were in a wretched condition because of overutilization and extensive livestock grazing. A critical situation inretrospect, which is still comparable to depleted mountainous areas in manydeveloping countries today.Flood and avalanche catastrophes led to public awareness of the serious problem and to a turning point of forest policy. In 1852 a federal Forest Actcame into force paving the way for a modern forestry system in the entire former Austrian Empire. This development was greatly enhanced by the industrial useof fossil energy instead of fuel wood and charcoal and the extension of therailway and road system. The basic key rules of this Forest Act are still validtoday:
 protection of forest land against clearing;
compulsory reforestation or natural regeneration after harvesting;
preservation of forest stands against malpractices;
special management of protection forests on steep slopes, unstable ground,and along riverbanks.These principles of forest preservation and improvement weresupplemented by many practice rules, e.g. for felling and timber transportation,the latter depending mainly on ground skidding, floating and rafting at that time.Additional provincial regulations supplemented this federal act mainly bylimiting clear-cut areas.During the implementation of the forest legislation a Forest Service andadditionally an Organization for Torrent and Avalanche Control wereestablished and upgraded during the following decades.The Forest Act was valid for more than 120 years and outlived theAustrian monarchy by far. The first amendments were made not before the1960s and finally the present Forest Act was enforced in 1975.Since earthmoving machinery became available after the Second WorldWar in Austria, more or less uncontrolled mechanized forest road buildingemploying bulldozers on steep terrain led to serious problems in the 1950s.Consequently, regulations of a modern forest transportation system became thecenterpiece of the Forest Act Amendment of 1962 enforcing general roamingrules:

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