The 5,251 ha Kalkalpen WILDForest consists of four areas (Hintergebirge, Bodinggraben, Urlach, Wilder Graben) with highly valuable beech forests that are embedded within the boundaries of the Kalkalpen Wilderness. The borders of the Kalkalpen WILDForest are mainly composed of visible biogeophysical barriers. Urlach and Bodinggraben are both bounded by the mountain ridges of the Sengsengebirge.
The Kalkalpen WILDForest is an hotspot for biodiversity, depending on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. The Kalkalpen WILDForest is an important reference area for comparisons with managed forest. Data from this forest provide an important basis for the evaluation and improvement of nature conservation and the forest management concept all over Europe. KalkalpenWILDForest is part of the UNESCO Word Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System
The 5,251 ha Kalkalpen WILDForest was audited in 2015 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2025.
- Protected area: Kalkalpen National Park
- WILDForest: Kalkalpen WILDForest
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
- Country: Austria
- Size of the protected area: 20,820 ha
- Size of the WILDForest: 5,251 ha hectares
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2015
- WILDForest Uniqueness: Large contiguos area of old-growth beech and mixed forest, favourable habitat for wolf, bear and many other rare species
- Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 210,000
- Number of visitors per year to the WILDForest: approx. 12,000
The Kalkalpen WILDForest is an area of a great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity depending on spontaneous natural process and ecosystem dynamics. It contains representatives of flora and fauna, typical for old-growth beech forests. The most striking and impressive features of this forest are big trees, the broken tree stems covered with a variety of fungi and the deadwood trunks of fallen trees. Priority species include also the sporadically presence of wolf, the protected alpine long-horned Rosalia beetle, and the bear moth. In 1999, the Eurasian lynx was reintroduced in Nationalpark Kalkalpen. This was an important step for the return of the Eurasian lynx to the Alps.
Wilderness Tourism Experience
The Kalkalpen National Park law states that the conventional form of tourism and hiking are not subject to restrictions within the park. The Kalkalpen WILDForest is an important place from a tourism- and recreational perspective. Visitors and other recreational activities have a long tradition in Kalkalpen National Park and the management has made great strides to minimize the negative impact of tourism, in particular in the Kalkalpen WILDForest. Mountain biking is directed outside of the Kalkalpen WILDForest with abandoned forest roads. Pitching tents is allowed in designated spots throughout the Kalkalpen National Park.