The Annotated Ramsar List: Austria


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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Austria on 16 April 1983. Austria presently has 23 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 124,968 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Autertal/St. Lorenzener Hochmoor. 12/09/11; Carinthia; 48 ha; 13°55'11''E 046°51'54''N. Natura 2000 site. The Autertal is a valley situated in the Gurktaler Alps, north of the small village of St. Lorenzen. The site consists of various representative, rare, natural and near-natural wetland types listed under the EU Habitats Directive, but is predominantly a raised bog with mountain pine surrounded by various types of sedge land and wet grassland. The site also supports numerous internationally, nationally and regionally rare species of plants and animals, including different bat species such as Myotis myotis, dragonfly species like Leucorrhinia pectoralis, moss species such as Drepanocladus vernicosus and mammals like lynx (Lynx lynx). The site is used for extensive hunting and fishing, extensive farming (hay meadow, summer pasture for cattle, alpine pasture), forestry, and recreation (especially hiking, snowshoe-hiking, mountain biking and skiing). Forest succession presents a threat. The hydrology of the raised-bog is disturbed, but several wooden dams have been built into the drainage ditch in order to raise the water table and rebuild the requirements for active bog-growing. The surrounding nutrient-poor meadows and coniferous forest are sustainably managed. A management plan and nomination as a biosphere reserve "Biosphärenpark Nockberge" are in preparation. Ramsar Site number: 1979. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Bayerische Wildalm and Wildalmfilz. 15/12/2004; Tyrol, 133 ha; 47°35'N 011°48'E; Natura 2000, Protected Mire. A large fen area covering the whole bottom and the slopes of a Karst depression with a natural brook that vanishes into a Ponor (Polje), and a saddle bog connected by fens and wet meadows to the southern slopes. Situated on the border between two biogeographical regions, the Northern Prealps and Flysch Zone and the Northern Limestone Alps, the site supports typical endangered mire plant communities for both regions, such as peat moss and sedge including bog sedge and bottle sedge communities. The water regime encompasses an outstanding mixture of paludification mire, terrestrialisation mire and inundation mire. As is typical for the Alps, the saddle bog Wildalmfilz has developed from a paludification mire, where groundwater influence is restricted to the lagg zone along the mire margin in the south where a big sloping fen, the Wildalmmoos, borders on the bog. As with all mires of the Tyrol, the site is protected by the conservation law and peat extraction or drainage of mires is prohibited. Part of the "Austrian-Bavarian Wildalm" Transboundary Ramsar Site with Germany, 2008. Ramsar site no. 1489. Most recent RIS information: 2005.

Donau-March-Thaya-Auen. 16/12/82; NiederÖsterreich; 36,090 ha; 48º17’N 016º48’E. Added to the Montreux Record, 4 July 1990. Nature ReserveProtected Landscape Area. Bordering the Czech and Slovak Republics, and contiguous with Austria’s Untere Lobau Ramsar site, the site consists of oxbow lakes, damp forests, and hay meadows subject to seasonal flooding, and comprises the largest remaining tract of near-natural riverine and floodplain forest in Central Europe. The site supports a diversity of nesting birds, including black and white storks (10 and 30 pairs, respectively). 650 plant species are present, several reaching the westernmost extent of their European distributions. Human activities include forestry, agriculture, hunting, fishing, sugar refining and recreation. Because of the proposed development of a hydro-power dam, its possible impacts, and the difficulty in maintaining the ecological character of riverine meadows and forests, the site was included in the Montreux Record in 1990. Subject of a Ramsar Advisory Mission in 1991. Part of the "Trilateral Ramsar Site Floodplains of the Morava-Dyje-Danube Confluence" Transboundary Ramsar site. Ramsar site no. 272. Most recent RIS information: 1992.

Güssing fishponds (Güssinger Fischteiche). 05/06/2013; Burgenland; 148 ha; 47°03’N 016°19’E. Situated in the flat valley of the Zickenbach creek, on the edge of the picturesque town of Güssing, the site is formed by one large and three small ponds separated by dams, used for non-intensive aquaculture of carp, pike, pike-perch and catfish. The ponds are surrounded by a dense belt mainly consisting of reed and bulrush which comprises an important breeding, feeding and resting site for migratory and resident waterbirds. Moreover, the site regularly supports European Otter Lutra lutra, dragonflies, and amphibians. A small island covered by willows and shrubs in one of the smaller ponds is used as a roosting place by herons. The surroundings show a varied landscape consisting of wet meadows with single trees, remnant copses of alluvial forest and willow bushes, small channels, and agricultural fields. The whole site plays an important role in flood retention. Potential threats to the ecological character of the wetland are drainage and afforestation of wet meadows, land abandonment, and vegetation succession. The scenery is dominated by the Güssing castle which is built on top of a prehistoric volcano right in the centre of the town. The main activities within the site are fish farming, agriculture, forestry recreation (hiking, cycling, jogging, birdwatching), and hunting. Ramsar Site No. 2137. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Hörfeld-Moor. 30/10/96; Kärnten, Steiermark; 137 ha; 47º01'N 014º31'E. Nature reserve, Natura 2000 site.Areas of raised bog, freshwater marsh and damp meadows with patches of trees, shrubs and extensive peat deposits fed by groundwater springs and streams. The site serves as a vast natural water storage system. Vegetation includes large areas of reedbeds interspersed with various species of willow (Salix sp). The site is an important breeding, feeding and resting habitat for a wide range of resident and migratory bird species. Numerous endangered plant and bird species are supported. Human activities include fishing, extensive hay meadows, and timber production. The site is of considerable local historical interest with traces of early settlements. A management plan was developed during the LIFE Nature Project "Hörfeld-Moor" (1997-2000) and was updated in 2003. Ramsar site no. 864. Most recent RIS information: 2004.

Lafnitztal. 01/03/02; Burgenland, Styria; 2,180 ha; 47°15'N 016°05'E. EC Directives Special Protection Area. A length of the Lafnitz river, formerly the international frontier with Hungary until the 20th century and presently the border between the states of Burgenland and Styria in the eastern part of the country, comprising numerous natural and semi-natural stretches over three-quarters of its length and an excellent example of freely meandering river. The length of the river sides and associated seasonally flooded agricultural land support a high species diversity, including otter (Lutra lutra), Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), and White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) and as much as 10% of the world population of fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina) and yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata), as well a number of rare and endangered plant species. The Ramsar Centre Lafnitztal visitors' center offers school courses and field excursions. Ramsar site no. 1169.Most recent RIS information: 2001.

Lower Inn Reservoirs (Stauseen am Unteren Inn). 16/12/82; Upper Austria; 870 ha; 48º17'47"N 013º16'20"E. Nature Conservation Area, Natura 2000 (SPA, SCI). Contiguous with the German Ramsar Site Unterer Inn, Haiming-Neuhaus. A stretch of the Inn River comprising reservoirs, sediments banks, riverine forests, muddy banks with Bidention vegetation, successional vegetation of various ages, and reed beds. The site supports a wide variety of bird species, many of them protected in Europe. Nesting species include the Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax; wintering and passage species include important numbers of various duck species and ruffs among others. The site provides habitat for nationally rare plants, the reintroduced European beaver Castor fiber and, recently, the re-immigrating European Otter Lutra lutra. Dammed 50 years ago for hydroelectric generation, it is a popular place for fishing, hunting and recreation. A steering committee with representatives of Austria and Bavaria (Germany) is working to provide legal entities for settling conflicts and ensuring the long-term quality of the area. Ramsar Site no. 274. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Mires of Pass Thurn. 02/02/04; Salzburg; 190 ha; 47°19'N 012°26'E; Nature monument. A complex of 13 peatlands (40 ha) on the southeastern slopes of the Pass Thurn mountain (between 1160-1600m), showing all typical features of mires of the Central Alps. The changing steepness of the slopes results in a very diverse pattern of different hydrological conditions - fens with mesotrophic calcareous water on the upper slopes turn into subneutral transitional mires or even acid bogs. The plant communities of the mires and marginal forests are endangered, and Dactylorhiza traunsteineri, a rare orchid, has one of the biggest populations in these mires. Noteworthy for the biogeographical region of the Alps is the occurrence of the boreal species Betula nana (Dwarf Birch). The mires of Pass Thurn are near-natural except for one site, the Wasenmoos, from which peat was cut chiefly for use as litter for stock-breeding in the valley; restoration work was undertaken there in autumn 2002. Ramsar site no. 1367. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Mires of the Sauerfelder Wald. 02/02/04; Salzburg; 119 ha; 47°07'N 013°54'E. A mountain range south of the Überling, with mires that are less numerous than in the Überling, but very different, thus adding importantly to the wetland diversity of the region. The subalpine continental climate is similar to boreal conditions. The hydrogenetic mire types are percolating mires, flush fens, spring fens and bogs. In most cases, the vegetation indicates acid conditions. Outstanding is the prevailing spruce-peatmoss community (Pino mugo-Sphagnetum magellanici, facies of Picea abis) of the bog, rare in the Alps and only known from very few other places. Remarkable for the biogeographical region of the Alps is the occurrence of the boreal species Betula nana (Dwarf Birch), Vaccinium microcarpum (a cranberry species), as well as the Empetro hermaphroditi-Sphagnetum fusci (Crowberry-Brown peatmoss community). The mires of the Sauerfelder Wald are all natural, not even affected by grazing; their only use is for hunting. The Ramsar Site should be extended over the whole mountain range in the next few years. Ramsar site no. 1368. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Mires of the Schwarzenberg. 02/02/04; Salzburg; 267 ha; 47°05'N 013°47'E. In the subalpine continental climate similar to the boreal, the plateau summit of the Schwarzenberg (1730m) has offered ideal conditions for the development of a natural mire complex of about 80 ha showing typical features of both boreal and alpine peatlands. Paludification mires, spring fens, percolation mires, Aapa mires and bogs present a high biodiversity of plant communities. Boreal vegetation such as the Dwarf Birch (Betula nana), bog cranberry species (Vaccinium microcarpum, Vaccinium oxycoccos) and the Crowberry-Brown Peatmoss (Empetro hermaphroditi-Sphagnetum fusci) are frequent occurrences, as is typical peatland vegetation like Carex pauciflora, Drosera rotundifolia, Menyanthes trifoliata and numerous Sphagnum species. The management authority (Austrian Federal Forestry) intends that there will be no peat extraction, no drainage of mires, no building of forestry roads affecting them, but a non-intensive forestry in the marginal forests and the preclusion of grazing and trampling of the mires. Ramsar site no. 1369. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Mires of the Überling. 02/02/04; Salzburg; 265 ha; 47°10'N 013°53'E; Natura 2000. The largest peatland concentration in the Alps, with 117ha of mires which present all typical features of mire types representative the boreal zone. Many of these peatlands belong to the boreal Aapa mire type, unique in the Alps, but also spring fens and terrestrialisation mires. One lake, Gstreikel Moos, remains almost covered by the biggest floating mat in the Alps. A large number of plant communities associated with boreal conditions add an important value to the biodiversity of the region, including Dwarf Birch (Betula nana), cranberry species (Vaccinium microcarpum, Vaccinium oxycoccos), Chickweed Wintergreen (Trientalis europaea) and Crowberry-Brown Peatmoss (Empetro hermaphroditi-Sphagnetum fusci). The mires are all natural or near-natural except for one bog-site, the "Moor SE Überlinghütte", which was drained in the 19th century for pasture. In a joint project of the landowners and NGOs, a rehabilitation project financed by the Austrian Federal Forestry was begun in 2000. In the next few years the Ramsar Site should be extended over the whole mountain range of the Überling and cattle grazing should be completely removed from the mires. Ramsar Site no. 1370. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Moor- und Seenlandschaft Keutschach-Schiefling. 13/12/2004; Kärnten; 543 ha; 46°35'N 014°08'E. Carinthian conservation area. Ten areas along the 12.5 km long valley, comprising four greater lakes (Keutschacher See, Hafnersee, Rauschelesee, Bassgeigensee), some ponds, and a mosaic of various wetland types, such as tall sedge and herb communities, wet grassland, elements of raised bog, damp meadows, tree-dominated swamps, black elder swamp forests, birch tree and willow tree swamp forests. This high variety supports many animal species, such as butterflies, insects and birds which are associated with these wetland plant communities, as well as snails, amphibians and dragonflies which need the ponds and other open water areas for reproduction, and two amphibian migration routes. Until ca.1970 most of the moist meadows were cultivated regularly for horse-hay and litter, but with the abandonment of these land uses perennial herbs, reeds, bushes, followed by black elders, birches, willow-trees and pines have spread over the area. A site management plan has been elaborated as part of the Ramsar designation process, and it includes education facilities such as guiding for visitors and a biking trail. Ramsar site no. 1490. Most recent RIS information: 2005.

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 high biodiversity 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 numerous moss 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 that vanishes into a "swallow hole", the Durchfall. The wetland has an important role in groundwater recharge and water retention, especially after heavy rainfall. 19th century peat extraction, long discontinued, still negatively affects the hydrology by lowering the water table and initiating erosion channels, and trampling by cattle has caused disturbance of the vegetation cover - under a joint project of the landowners, 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. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Nationalpark Kalkalpen. 02/02/04; OberÖsterreich; 18,532 ha; 47°35'N 014°25'E; Important Bird Area; Natura 2000 site; National Park. Part of the northern limestone alps, the greatest part of the site is karstified and has a tight network of gorges and canyons, a total of 470 km of natural, pure brooks and some 800 springs which represent hotspots of biodiversity. More than 300 different species of fauna have been described in these springs and among them, new ones such as the molluscs Belgrandiella aulaei and Bythiospeun nocki (family Hydrobiidae). The area, the largest forested reserve in Austria, presents the rare forest associations Alnion glutinoso-incanae, Tilio-Acerion and Cephalanthero-Fagion, hosts the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the lynx (Lynx lynx), and is an important place for birds (22 listed in the European Birds Directive), autochthonous stocks of brown trout (Salmo trutta), amphibians and insects. Although forestry activities have influenced the area, since 1997 it is under a strict management plan which prohibits any economic use. The National Park administration runs a water analysis laboratory and has developed a karst research programme including the monitoring of springs and meteorology. Ramsar site no. 1371. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Neusiedlersee, Seewinkel & Hanság. 16/12/82; Burgenland; 44,229 ha; 47º49’N 016º53’E. Biosphere Reserve, Council of Europe Biogenetic Reserve; National Park, Protected Area,Protected Landscape Area. A typical steppe lake with alkaline waters, extensive reedbeds and marshes, one of the largest wetlands in Central Europe and shared with Hungary. It includes a complex of 80 small lakes and remnant salt meadows in an intensively farmed landscape. Numerous bird species, including egrets, avocets and plover breed, and important numbers of geese and ducks, stage at the site during their migrations. Human activities include reed harvesting, bird hunting, fishing, tourism and recreation. In ceremonies held on 24 April 1994, a single transboundary national park, called Neusiedl-Fertö, was created in co-management with Hungary. Ramsar site no. 271. Most recent RIS information: 2005.

Pürgschachen Moor. 09/09/91; Steiermark; 62 ha; 47º35’N 014º21’E. Protected Landscape Area. A raised peat bog in the basin of a post-glacial lake surrounded by peatland and damp meadows, interspersed with coniferous woodland. The site supports a range of rare or biogeographically important plant species, specialized and relict invertebrate species and is particularly important for its insects. The area is important for scientific research, notably pollen analysis. Ramsar site no. 532. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

Rheindelta. 16/12/82; Vorarlberg; 2,065 ha; 47º30’N 009º38’E. Nature Reserve. The Rhine Delta, bordering Switzerland and Germany, lies between the original estuary and the channelized Rhine. The site consists of open water, fens, wet meadows, tall sedge communities, reedbeds and riverine forest. An important area for waterbirds; almost the entire Alpine breeding population of merganser molts here, and moderate numbers of several species pass or winter in the area. Various rare or endangered plants are present. Human activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and recreation. Boundaries extended by 95 ha in 2008. Ramsar site no. 275. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Rotmoos im Fuschertal. 24/02/95; Salzburg; 58 ha; 47º17’N 012º47’E. A rare type of calcareous fen, interspersed with rock-slides and periglacial features. The site, a high altitude valley head with a U-shaped amphitheater, is fed by torrents and waterfalls and supports a unique mix of alpine and swamp vegetation (Carex davalliana, Carex firma and Drosera rotundifolia),rarely found elsewhere. The area supports an invertebrate community of high species diversity, numerous species of birds and waterfowl, and several endangered plant species. Human activities include tourism, farming, fishing and hunting. Ramsar site no. 719. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Sablatnigmoor. 19/05/92; Kärnten; 96 ha; 46º34'N 014º36'E. Council of Europe Biogenetic Reserve; Nature Reserve; Natura 2000 site. An area of fen in a glacial basin consisting of tall sedge and herb communities, wet grassland and broad-leaf deciduous forest. The site supports numerous species of flora and fauna of European concern such as the amphibians Rana arvalis and Bombina variegata, and it provides habitat for staging and several nationally endangered breeding birds, including great crested grebes, teals and little bitterns. Agriculture and forestry are practiced in the surrounding area. Ramsar site no. 558. Most recent RIS information: 2004.

Untere Lobau. 16/12/82; Wien; 915 ha; 48º10’N 016º30’E. Biosphere Reserve; Nature Reserve, Protected Landscape Area. A complex of former alluvial floodplain habitats, riverine forest, meadows, oxbow lakes, sand and gravel ridges and reedbeds. The site supports a diverse flora and fauna, including the recently reintroduced European beaver and many orchids. Human activities include small-scale fishing, timber production and recreation. Flood embankments erected in the nineteenth century are now used as a groundwater protection area for Vienna’s domestic supply. Part of the "Trilateral Ramsar Site Floodplains of the Morava-Dyje-Danube Confluence" Transboundary Ramsar site. Ramsar site no. 273. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

Upper Drava River (Obere Drau). 06/05/2014; Carinthia; 1,029 ha; 46°45‘N 13°17‘E; Natura 2000 (SPA, SAC). The Site is the last free-flowing stretch (of around 68 km) of the inner Alpine mountain river Drau (Drava in English) and its neighbouring alluvial area in the Carinthia region. The river flows in a landscape characterized by Austria’s largest alluvial forest of grey alder (Alnus incana), with permanent freshwater wetlands alongside seasonally flooded agricultural land. The Site supports threatened species of waterbirds such as the little bittern (Ixobrychis minutus) and the ruff (Philomachus pugnax) and endangered species of amphibians and mammals including bats and the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), which are important to the biological diversity of the Alpine biogeographic region. The permanent freshwater marshes are also an important spawning and feeding ground for several fish species such as spined loach (Cobitis taenia) and different species of crayfish. The alluvial lands play an important role in water retention and flood mitigation. Human activities include agriculture, forestry, hunting, fishing, and recreational activities such as biking, hiking, canoeing and camping. In the past, various ecologically important habitats were lost due to modifications in the river course accompanied by draining to reduce floods and create areas for settlement and intensive agriculture. More recently, however, two EU-LIFE conservation projects and several habitat-improving measures have been implemented, and the Site once again supports regionally extinct species such as the German tamarisk (Myricaria germanica), the dwarf bulrush (Typha minima) and the Ukrainian brook lamprey (Eudontomyzon mariae). Ramsar Site no. 2208. Most recent RIS information: 2014.

Waldviertel ponds, peat bogs & floodplains(Teich-, Moor- und Flusslandschaft Waldviertel). 22/12/99; NiederÖsterreich; 13,000 ha; 48º46’N 015º59’E. A number of Natura 2000 sites under the EC Birds and Habitats and Species Directives; Important Bird Area. Situated in the southeasternmost part of the central European mountain region; contains a number of small and large riverine, peat bog, and pond wetlands. Crucial to the area’s water regime, the Lainsitz is a common river connecting to the Czech Republic’s Ramsar sites Trebon fishponds and Trebon peatlands (the ‘Lusnice’ river in Czech) with high commercial value since the 13th century. Peat was extracted for fuel for the glass industry until the end of the 19th century, but no longer. Hunting is common in all parts of the site. The site enjoys high species diversity, especially in plants, dragonflies, amphibians, and birds, with rare species like the mammals Lutra lutra and Micromys minutus, mussels Margaritifera margaritifera and Unio crassus, and the crustacean Astacus astacus. The rivers and ponds perform valuable functions in flood control and water retention and serve as a hydrological buffer zone. Ownership is very mixed, partly publicly-owned by local and national entities and partly owned by small, large, and very large private landowners. Many parts of the Ramsar site have management plans implemented under an EU LIFE project by WWF-Austria, and ongoing research is carried out by WWF Austria and BirdLife Austria. Ramsar site no. 1013. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Wilder Kaiser. 08/04/2013; Tyrol; 3,781 ha; 47°34'0"N 012°18'0"E. Nature Reserve, Wilderness Area. The Wilder Kaiser ('Wild Emperor') is an outstanding limestone karst massif in the Alps, ranging between 480 and 2344 meters asl. The whole area is a rare combination of different wetland types including mires, bogs, fens, creeks, brooks, meadows, wet pastures and freshwater springs. The site supports populations of vulnerable and endangered plants and animal species important for maintenance of the biological diversity within the Alpine biogeographic region. The main hydrological value of the wetland complex is groundwater recharge. Land use within the site is dedicated to certified forestry, hunting, fishing and tourism, including environmental education. Some of the factors potentially affecting the site's ecological character adversely are a forestry road which cuts off some seepage areas and ski tourism in the area. Nature conservation education facilities are present, featuring a nature trail, a specially designed playing ground for children, and numerous information boards. Ramsar Site no. 2146. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

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