Living diversity in dead wood
The main objectives of a national park (IUCN, 1994 and 1999) are the maintenance of environmental services, tourism and recreation as well as the preservation of species and genetic diversity. In addition scientific research, wilderness protection, maintenance of cultural and traditional attributes and education are some of the subordinate goals.
In order to clearly assign management measures, protected areas, but also national parks, are often divided into categories. The IUCN determines that at least 75% of the surface of a protected area should be managed according to its main objectives. In the National Park Thayatal these are the protection of species, the conservation of ecological diversity and recreation.
Zoning as per national park regulation
The decree on the National Park Thayatal has identified three zones. The measures authorized in each zone are outlined in the national park law of Lower Austria:
- The nature zone in which any economic interference is forbidden on more than 90% of its total surface.
- The nature zone with management measures in which measures may be taken in conformity with nature, on meadows and in overgrown forest borders, e.g. the mowing of meadows to maintain rare forest-free ecosystems.
- The outer zone with constructions such as the historical ruin Kaja, to ensure the conservation of such objects.
"If you plan to destroy a forest…”
Impact of former utilization
In many areas that have become national parks, natural resources were utilized more or less intensively. Hence as the national park regulation came into force, non indigenous tree species were found in about 25% of the forests. In order to eliminate these changes, the National Park Law foresees a transitional period, in accordance with the IUCN criteria, within which these measures should be completed. In the National Park Thayatal, the transition may take five, ten or fifteen years depending on the area (Decree on the National Park Thayatal, 2000).