Wilder Kaiser (‘the Wild Emperor’) is the evocative name of Austria’s newest Wetland of International Importance. As summarized by Ramsar’s Laura Máiz-Tomé, the new site (3,781 hectares, 47°34’0”N 012°18’0”E) in the federal state of Tyrol is an outstanding limestone karst massif in the Alps, ranging between 480 and 2344 meters above sea level. 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.
The Convention’s 167 Parties presently have 2,123 Wetlands of International Importance, covering an area of 205,369,941 hectares.