Nature conservation and species protection
Counteracting the loss of biodiversity is the greatest challenge in nature conservation globally. The destruction and fragmentation of habitats are the main reasons for the threat to animal species, plant species and ecosystems. To face these challenges, the Ministry of Environment is pursuing the following objectives in nature conservation:
- protecting habitats and wild animal and plant species through specific projects for species and habitat protection,
- promoting the use of natural resources in a nature-friendly and sustainable manner through environmentally friendly agriculture,
- supporting and passing on the idea of nature conservation as a task of society.
A wide range of nature conservation projects has been implemented since Austria’s accession to the European Union (EU) through Life-Natur and other support instruments of the EU. The focus is on specific measures that safeguard natural habitats and species and counteract the loss of biodiversity.
According to the Constitution of Austria, the nine states are responsible for nature conservation in Austria. More than 180 EU protected areas with the designation Natura 2000 exist according to EU directives. In addition, there are a number of other national and international protection categories with different protection provisions. The six national parks occupy an important position and the Federal Ministry provides them with substantial financial and organisational support. Additionally, the Federal Ministry is the contact point for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other international organisations in nature conservation.