Peatland: Austria names peatland areas in Styria for the Ramsar List

Austria names peatland areas in Styria for the Ramsar List

26 November 2004
published by www.ramsar.org


The Ramsar Secretariat is delighted to announce that Austria, just a fewmonths after having designated a number of valuable mires in the Salzburg region, has named, as of 15 October 2004, a small collection ofbogs, mires and fens in the Steiermark region in the southeast. The Moore am Nassköhr site (211 hectares, 47°43’N 15°33’E), already a NatureReserve, comprises a number of mires that are all near-natural except for one bog, the Torfstichmoor, which had been used as a peat cut in the19th century; the others, however, have been more or less affected by cattle grazing and trampling. In a joint project with the landowners,the Austrian Federal Forests (ÖBf-AG), the Institute of Ecology andConservation Biology of Vienna University (IECB), and WWF-Austria initiated a management plan financed by the ÖBf-AG in order to improvethe conditions for the peatlands. This is an outstanding example of private nature conservation activities in Austria. In spring 2002 theÖBf-AG built dams into all drainage channels and in autumn – after long-lasting negotiations with the farmers – they began building a fenceto keep the cattle out from most of the mires. The Annotated List entry, prepared by Estelle Gironnet, is as follows: 

Moore am Nassköhr. 15/10/04; Styria; 211 ha; 47°43’N 15°33’E;Nature Reserve. 

A karst depression of the northern limestone Alps which presents bogs, transitional mires, and fens.The site supports a highbiodiversity of the associated mire vegetation; typical species include
the Few-flowered Sedge (Carex pauciflora), the Sundews Drosera anglica, D. intermedia, and D. rotundifolia, Bogbean, Bog Swertia, and numerousmoss species.The limestone bedrock is covered with a layer of impermeable shale at the origin of the formation of the peatlands,springs and streams. The streams flow into a meandering brook thatvanishes into a “swallow hole”, the Durchfall. The wetland has an important role in groundwater recharge and water retention, especiallyafter heavy rainfall. 19th century peat extraction, long discontinued, still negatively affects the hydrology by lowering the water table andinitiating erosion channels, and trampling by cattle has caused disturbance of the vegetation cover – under a joint project of thelandowners, the Austrian Federal Forests, WWF- Austria, and the Institute of Ecology and Conservation Biology of Vienna University,begun in 2002, peat extraction and drainage are prohibited in the mires and a fence to prevent grazing has been set up. Outside the mires,sustainable forest management, hunting and pasturing are continuing. Ramsar site no. 1404.

Some photos of both the site and the presentation of Ramsar sitecertificates by the Austrian Ramsar National Committee, can be found at http://ramsar.org/w.n.austria_nasskohr.htm. Austria’s designation ofother mire sites on World Wetlands Day 2004 is outlined at
http://ramsar.org/wwd2004_rpt_austria1.htm

**********

Dwight Peck
Communications Officer
Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
1196 Gland, Switzerland
peck@ramsar.org
www.ramsar.org


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