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Find common ways. ENVIRONMENT & energy BIODIVERSITY. START Lower Austria Climate and Energy Program 2030 BIRD VOICES Birds loudly announce spring

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1 ENVIRONMENT & energy THE ENVIRONMENTAL MAGAZINE OF THE LAND OF LOWER AUSTRIA MARINA LOHRBACH / STOCK.ADOBE.COM, BPWW / M. GRAF BIODIVERSITY Finding common paths START Lower Austria Climate and Energy Program 2030 BIRD VOICES Birds are loudly proclaiming spring

2 CONTENT LANDSCHAFTSPFLEGEVEREIN / IRENE DROZDOWSKI 06 Finalization of the Austrian Biodiversity Strategy 2030 CONTENTS BIODIVERSITY 06 Finding common paths Building on the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 published in May 2020, the new Austrian Biodiversity Strategy 2030 is currently being developed. 10 Safeguarding biodiversity The RTI project Biodiversity funded by the state of Lower Austria is intended to make knowledge about the importance of biological diversity comprehensible and to make biodiversity data available. 12 Biodiversity needs habitats The international biodiversity convention passed in 1992 stipulated that it should also include the diversity of habitats and ecosystems. 14 Lower Austria municipalities actively promoting their natural treasures The Naturland Treasures campaign offers municipalities: My municipality provides professional know-how and practical support. 16 Spatial planning in times of climate change An amendment to the Lower Austrian Spatial Planning Act creates more protection for soil and climate with clear goals. 18 Crisis-proof through diversity Three different farms from Lower Austria show why the Corona crisis could not harm them. 20 Nature worth protecting right on the doorstep The Network Nature Region Thermenlinie-Wiener Becken is a cross-community cooperation for the preservation of biological diversity in the immediate living environment. 23 Humus build-up promotes biological diversity Measures to preserve biodiversity are also promoted by the Lower Austrian Eco Management. ENERGY 24 Shaping the future Taking measures With the Lower Austria Climate and Energy Program 2030, which is far more than a continuation of the tried and tested, the state of Lower Austria wants to face the global challenges of climate change. 26 Responsibility for climate protection Nationwide, 30% of all klimaaktiv buildings and even 54% of all klimaaktiv multi-storey buildings were planned or built by non-profit developers. 2 ENVIRONMENT & energy

3 CONTENTS SHUTTERSTOCK 24 Lower Austria Climate and Energy Program 2030 MICHAEL DWORAK 30 The songs are MITJA KOBAL / GREENPEACE LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS / STOCK.ADOBE.COM 18 Diversity promotes the resilience of businesses a spring-like 34Spinach enjoyment 28 Southern Weinviertel small region This climate change adaptation model region (KL !) wants to become a region with a high quality of life by 2050, in which people think and act in a sustainable way. NATURE 30 Winged Spring Concert Since birds mainly chirp during the breeding season, their singing can be heard more intensely between late winter and the end of July. 32 Klimagrün knows no borders With the Klimagrün project, the climate-relevant importance of green infrastructures in the border region between Lower Austria and the Czech Republic was examined and guidelines and action programs for their planning, design and management were drawn up. LIFE 34 Awakening the forces of spring Spinach is not as rich in iron as it was once mistakenly believed, but it is still one of the healthiest vegetables. RDNZL / SILVIA BOGDANSKI / XAVIER / STOCK.ADOBE.COM 38 So that it hums and buzzes again Enough talk about the death of insects, the association thinks about the topic: nature and calls insects life with its project! to turn words into deeds. ENU aktuell 40 Nature conservation is also climate protection. Naturland Lower Austria needs protection. Think seasonally, give regional gifts! STANDARDS 46 In a nutshell 49 Dates 50 Seen & read The Austrian eco-label for print products, UZ 24, UW 686 Ferdinand Berger & Söhne GmbH. Imprint: Editor, publisher & media owner: State of Lower Austria, Regional Planning, Environment and Transport Group, Environment and Energy Management Department, 3109 St. Pölten, Landhausplatz 1, Tel .: 02742 /, Editor: DI Leonore Mader-Hirt; Ing. Elke Papouschek, editorial office for gardens, nature & leisure; Mag.ª Silvia Osterkorn-Lederer, Energy and Environment Agency of the State of Lower Austria. Editing: Dr. Angelika Holler. Title flower: Kuhschelle, Marina Lohrbach / stock.adobe.com. Cover photo: Green Lizard, BPWW / M. Count. Graphic conception & layout: Peter Fleischhacker. Advertising agency: Media contacta Vienna, Tel .: 01 / Edition: Production: Druckerei Berger, Horn. Place of publication and publication: St. Pölten. Disclosure according to 25 media law: Periodically published information sheet in Lower Austria. Articles identified by name do not have to agree with the opinion of the editorial team. No liability is accepted for unsolicited articles. The editor reserves the right to revise and shorten articles. Data protection notice: ENVIRONMENT & energy

4 honeybee collage elements Stock.adobe.com; Photos: NHM Vienna - Heinz Wiesbauer; Ralf Urner-Lippetal - stock.adobe.com; Gideon Pisanty; Maja Dumat - Creative Commons License BY 2.0; SA 4.0 Juergen Stretschek Maya the Bee & her wild relatives Everything about wild bees and their contribution to biodiversity, packed into an exciting school lesson! Every child receives great teaching materials to take home. Suitable for elementary schools from the third grade. An offer as part of the campaign We for bees together with Lower Austria's seminar farmers. Blue wooden bee Felt furrow bee Earth bumblebee Steppe bee Find out more: wir-fuer-bienen.at

5 BIODIVERSITY EDITORIAL Dear Readers! WEINFRANZ BELARABA.COM The first edition of UMWELT & energie in 2021 is dedicated to the topic of biodiversity and thus focuses on the global decline in biodiversity and habitats. Although Austria is one of the most biodiverse countries in Central Europe, this diversity is also becoming more and more difficult in this country. The state of Lower Austria is aware of its responsibility in this regard and therefore intends to intensify initiatives in the next few years to network habitats or biotope network systems and to expand the green infrastructure, because habitat protection is the protection of species. For the successful implementation of such projects, there are a large number of partner organizations in our state, such as the Biosphärenpark Wienerwald Management GmbH, the protected area management of Lower Austria, two national parks, 20 nature parks and much more. There is also great interest and active participation on the part of the population across the country, as demonstrated by the active participation in ecological measures in our corridors. We are very grateful for this, because without this great support a lot of things would not be possible in this country. But also raising the awareness of those population groups who have not yet dealt much with the value of biological diversity is a matter close to our hearts. The contributions that each and every individual can make to preserving biodiversity should not be underestimated. We are currently about to open the House of Wilderness in the Scheibbs district. The exhibition, which moves into the sustainable timber structure designed by the architects MAURER & PARTNER, is a mixture of modern media such as virtual reality, interactive stations and those for deepening. In this way, visitors should be enthusiastic about the sensitive ecosystem and UNESCO world cultural heritage wilderness area Dürrenstein. Only those who have come to know and appreciate such natural gems are ready to get involved in their protection and preservation. We are particularly pleased that with the House of Wilderness we are also creating an important crystallization core for the development of the entire region. Governor JOHANNA MIKL-LEITNER LH deputy STEPHAN PERNKOPF ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

6 BIODIVERSITY Dry ​​grass with Cantabrian winds 6 ENVIRONMENT & energy

7 BIODIVERSITY Climate protection measures that are directly related to biodiversity have also been included in the Lower Austria Climate and Energy Program 2030, confirms LH Deputy. Dr. Stephan Pernkopf. LANDSCHAFTSPFLEGEVEREIN / IRENE DROZDOWSKI JUDTMANN Finding common ways At the end of May 2020, the new EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 was published. The new Austrian Biodiversity Strategy 2030 is currently being developed on this basis. But why is such a strategy needed and how is it created? TEXT: AGNES DEMETZ If you look up the meaning of the word biodiversity, the result is biodiversity. In addition to a large number of species, this also describes the diversity of communities and ecosystems and the processes that take place in them. Without this diversity of animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms, there would be neither clean water and fresh air, nor a pleasant climate or healthy soil for the production of food. These services and goods, which bring people direct or indirect economic, material, health or psychological benefits and which are decisive for their survival and quality of life, are referred to as ecosystem services. Biodiversity is therefore our livelihood and preserving it should therefore be a top priority for everyone. Who influences biodiversity? Many branches of the economy are directly dependent on biodiversity: Tourism benefits from intact nature and a beautiful landscape. Agriculture needs fertile soils and clean water for food production. Medicine and the construction industry gain important raw materials and new knowledge from intact nature. In order to be able to preserve biodiversity in the long term, ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

8 BIODIVERSITY AGNES DEMETZ ERWIN NEUMEISTER Waldviertler Bichl near Gmünd Alpensalamander therefore requires a cooperation between nature conservation, tourism, agriculture and forestry as well as all other areas that directly or indirectly influence biological diversity. Participation of the population. Every citizen can also make a contribution, for example by designing gardens that are close to nature, buying regional products or revitalizing existing buildings instead of pushing ahead with further soil sealing. The prerequisite for this is an appreciative approach to nature and the willingness to create the necessary space. All in all, private gardens form a large living space. A wild corner, a flower meadow, a near-natural pond, regional woody plants or even leaves and dead plant parts that remain in the garden during the winter and are only removed in spring contribute to the preservation of the local biodiversity (see p. 38). Important work in this context is performed by, among others, the Lower Austrian Initiative for Nature in the Garden and We for Bees or the Regional Wood Propagation and ARCHE NOAH associations. Biodiversity is our livelihood and preserving it should have top priority. European strategy. Under the motto Bring nature back into our lives, the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 prepared by the European Commission was published at the end of May 2020. This serves as the basis for the 27 EU member states to create their own national biodiversity strategy. The aim of the EU biodiversity strategy is to stop the loss of biodiversity by addressing the main causes, such as unsustainable use of land and sea, depletion of natural resources, pollution and the spread of invasive alien species, with appropriate measures and strategies is countered. HEINZ WIESBAUER Meadow with Diptam on the Eichkogel Ambitious goals. Across the EU, 20 billion a year are to be made available for biodiversity. Furthermore, the aim is to protect 30% of the land area and the oceans, 10% of which with strict protection requirements. In addition, the expansion of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas as well as national protected areas and wildlife corridors is planned. Organic farming as well as landscape elements rich in biodiversity on agricultural land are to be strengthened and the loss of pollinators halted. The latter can be achieved, among other things, by halving the use of pesticides. In total, rivers should be able to flow freely for at least km. Another field of action includes soil ecosystems including the problem of increasing soil sealing. In addition, an EU forest strategy to improve the quantity, quality and resilience of forests is being drawn up. These extremely ambitious goals of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 make it clear once again that close cooperation between the most varied of sectors is essential for successful implementation. Austrian strategy. In 2019, the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, together with the Federal Environment Agency, launched the so-called Biodiversity Dialogue 2030. A national dialogue on biological diversity was conducted with actors, affected persons and stakeholders. Based on these results and after the publication of the European Biodiversity Strategy 2030, a catalog with possible elements of an Austrian Biodiversity Strategy was subjected to a public consultation in summer 2020. There was over feedback. A draft of the Austrian biodiversity strategy is currently being discussed in the National Biodiversity Commission and 8 ENVIRONMENT & energy

9 BIODIVERSITY MANUELA ZINÖCKER The wire-haired elephant loves poor, dry soils. Nodding thistle tuned. This also consists of representatives from all sectors relevant to biodiversity. Building on this, the new Austrian Biodiversity Strategy 2030 is to be finalized in the course of this year. By 2030, three billion trees are to be planted across the EU. Biodiversity and Climate Protection. Against the background of advancing climate change and the associated rising temperatures, the need to protect biodiversity is once again made clear. In addition to the production of vital oxygen, plants also cool the environment through evaporation of water. Therefore, as part of the European Biodiversity Strategy, cities with more than 1,000 inhabitants are asked to draw up plans for their greening by the end of 2021. AGNES DEMETZ is expected to have planted three billion trees across the EU by 2030. Promotion of natural CO2 storage. One driver of climate change is the increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) content in the atmosphere. Peatlands cover only three percent of the world's land area, but they bind a third of the earth's carbon. Unfortunately, it is precisely these habitats that have been greatly reduced in the past through drainage and peat removal. Even today it is still difficult at times to obtain peat-free soil in trade. However, this would be a simple and sustainable step towards moor conservation and climate protection. Restoring the bog is a very costly and time-consuming process, but it should be a top priority. Grasslands and forests are also significant carbon stores. The safeguarding of the management, v. a. extensive grassland and the development of mixed forests that are less susceptible to damage are measures from which biodiversity and climate benefit equally. Due to this interaction, biological diversity was also anchored in the climate and energy program 2030 of the state of Lower Austria (see p. 24). Implementation of measures. The implementation of previous and future strategies is funded from different sources. EU funding programs for the preservation and strengthening of biological diversity, such as LIFE or the program for the development of rural areas, have long been successfully established in Austria. National protected areas are mostly financed at the federal and state level. But charitable foundations are also playing an increasingly important role as an instrument to support measures to promote biodiversity. The biodiversity fund provided for in the government program has also been activated this year. It is used to finance, for example, insect monitoring, a campaign on biodiversity in Austria, civil society projects involving young people and the vielfaltleben community network. Habitat networking. In Lower Austria, the focus in the coming years will be particularly on the networking of living spaces and the expansion of the so-called green infrastructure. Projects such as the Green Ring around Vienna or the restoration of the continuity of wildlife migration routes, such as the Alpine-Carpathian Corridor, have already been tackled. The soil protection systems, which already have a total length of km, will also be expanded. In order for the cascade from a European to a national biodiversity strategy to its implementation at regional and local level, however, numerous actors are required who pursue common goals as well as the inclusion of all areas that have a significant influence on biodiversity. MAG.ª AGNES DEMETZ, MSC., Office of the Lower Austrian State Government, Dept. Nature Conservation ENVIRONMENT & Energy

10 BIODIVERSITY above: narrow-leaved sundew left. below: The very rare moor forest tongue combined with sundew in the Hornspitzmoor right: The Dobra primeval forest in the Kamptal is a hotspot for biodiversity.Securing biodiversity The aim of the Biodiversity project funded by the state of Lower Austria as part of the RTI strategy is to make knowledge about the importance of biological diversity comprehensible and to make biodiversity data available. TEXT: GERALD STEINER, ANDREA HÖLTL & TANJA LUMETSBERGER FTI stands for research, technology and innovation. Scientific findings provide an important basis for overcoming societal challenges. In order to be able to counteract these, such as the loss of biodiversity, in the best possible way, the state of Lower Austria, which attaches great importance to science and research, has developed a comprehensive RTI strategy. Biodiversity Hub. Against the background of the increasing loss of biodiversity, the Biodiversity Hub was set up at Danube University Krems in 2017 in order to technically and organizationally coordinate specific work on the RTI topic of ecosystems and ecosystem services. In a first step, the focus was on establishing the Biodiversity Austria network, but also developing and maintaining a data management system, the Biodiversity Atlas Austria. Goals of the network. JOHANNES MAURER BPWW / M. Push GRAF networking further. The forum on biodiversity & ecosystem services has been held annually since 2018 and offers a platform for people from research, administration, politics, business and society who are active in the field of biodiversity and ecosystem services and for whom biodiversity protection is an important concern. In addition to specialist input, there is also the opportunity to exchange ideas and network. In addition, the Biodiversity Hub and the Austrian Climate Network (CCCA) redesigned the competence map for experts in the field of sustainability in 2018. Data management system. The Biodiversity Atlas Austria is an online platform and is aimed at everyone who is interested in 10 ENVIRONMENT & energy

11 BIODIVERSITY Pollination by insects, wood extraction from the forest or the recreational function of a beautiful landscape. The Biodiversity Atlas enables free access to biodiversity data in Austria. Make biodiversity understandable. Another area of ​​work at the Biodiversity Hub is to communicate biodiversity to the general public more intensively. By participating in various initiatives, such as Junge Uni and Science goes School, the topic is worked out with young people. The population is involved in the observation and survey of animals, plants and fungi through the City Nature Challenge, a global competition for biodiversity. In Lower Austria, from April 30th to May 3rd, the regions Krems & Wachau, St. Pölten, Waidhofen / Ybbs and Hardegg & National Park Thayatal take part. in the biological diversity in Austria. It enables free access to data on the occurrence of animals, plants and fungi. In addition, the biodiversity atlas provides information on the endangerment and protection status of species (red lists) as well as access to climate and land use data. We are constantly working on the integration of further data. The aim is to make information on biodiversity and its interactions with a wide variety of influencing factors available on a broad basis. In a current project, the platform is being expanded to include information on ecosystem services in Lower Austria. This is intended to illustrate the different services that biodiversity provides for people, for example the JOHANNES MAURER recognition of the value of nature. Biodiversity is more than just a measure of the diversity of life. It is probably the most essential mirror for the interaction between nature and humans as well as for the state of health of our planet. This also shows us that it is not just about the performance of nature for humans, but also about reflecting on being human and thus recognizing the value of nature for itself in its holistic state. UNIV.-PROF. DR GERALD STEINER, DR ANDREA HÖLTL, MBA M.E.S. & TANJA LUMETSBERGER, MSC, Biodiversity Hub at Danube University Krems SOURCE: Höltl, A., Steiner, G., Lumetsberger, T., et al A network for biodiversity in Austria. GAIA. doi: / gaia research / FTI -strategy.html ENVIRONMENT & energy

12 BIODIVERSITY Structural elements of the landscape, such as dry stone walls or field borders, promote biodiversity. Biodiversity needs habitats As early as the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biodiversity, it was stipulated that this important concept should not only include the multitude of different organisms, but also the diversity of habitats and ecosystems. TEXT: THOMAS WRBKA The catalog of protected goods is currently no longer limited to species, but must also include their habitats. In addition, the management of protected areas is now increasingly dealing with the question of the spatial distribution of landscape elements. The latter, the so-called landscape structure, is largely determined by their use in Central European cultural landscapes. It is not only the current intensity of land use for agricultural, forestry, commercial and industrial activities or for settlement and transport infrastructure that plays a role. Rather, many cultural landscapes also show a considerable amount of relics of historical land use practices and traditions, which in many ways shape the familiar image of our landscapes, but can also be local hotspots of biodiversity. Landscape structures promote diversity. The connection between biodiversity and the structure of the landscape becomes comprehensible if one realizes that in modern agricultural landscapes cleared for the use of ever larger machines, only a handful of robust commonplace species can survive. On the other hand, there are still numerous species of native wild animals and plants in the traditionally shaped, small-scale cultivated landscapes, including quite a few that have a high nature conservation value due to their rarity and endangerment. Examples of this are the wine terraces of the UNESCO World Heritage region of Wachau, the hedge landscapes of the foothills of the Alps and the western Vienna Woods or the narrow strip fields of the western Waldviertel. The structure of cultural landscapes is largely determined by their use. Species-rich transition zones. A common criterion for all of these cultural landscapes mentioned is that, despite intensive use of the actual agricultural cultivated areas, they contain many species that are sensitive to disturbance and that were able to survive on and in the edges and borders of the usable parcels. From a historical perspective, these are mostly border lines that the JOHANNES MAURER BPWW / M. GRAF demarcation or marking of land ownership or a unit of use served. From an ecological point of view, such landscape elements represent transition zones between different ecosystems. This also explains the occurrence of animal and plant species with very different, sometimes even contradicting life requirements in a very small space. While, for example, only very few, mostly short-lived and nutrient-loving plant species thrive in fields due to regular tillage, fertilization and, if necessary, the application of biocides, the narrow field in between can accommodate a veritable abundance of organisms. The range of species ranges from meadow flowers to lean herbs and small shrubs to real botanical rarities on dry grassland. If such a rain runs along an embankment, as is the case with terraced fields and vineyards, the biodiversity can increase. 12 ENVIRONMENT & energy

13 BIODIVERSITY Green Lizard BPWW / M. GRAF can still be increased considerably because communities can develop here that are at least partially protected from the entry of harmful substances from the usable areas. Narrow field borders between arable land can accommodate an abundance of organisms. Multifunctional hedges. Also as border structures, hedges were originally planted at the boundaries of the parcels to enclose the more intensively used areas and thus protect them from grazing cattle. As a result, tree and shrub hedges have developed into real models for multifunctional land use. Regularly placed on a stick or cut back, they were used to extract firewood or timber. Depending on the frequency and aim of this wood use, the species composition changes so that one can differentiate between different types of hedge, such as hazel or thorn bush hedges. In addition, fruit bushes, such as dirndls, were traditionally used and promoted accordingly. In many cases, the woods of the hedges are also preceded by fringes and grass corridors, which, depending on the orientation, consist of moisture or heat-loving species, including numerous medicinal plants. The communities of many hedges show a transition character between forests and open land. From an ecological point of view, these linear woody structures can therefore be understood as double forest edges. Hedges also provide numerous regulatory ecosystem services, such as protection from wind and soil erosion. Walls and ramparts. Finally, those small structures should be mentioned that were created by stacking stones to form walls and ramparts or by depositing reading stones for a long time, for example in vineyards. Such dry stone walls and stone blocks also have an abundance of landscape ecological functions that go far beyond their original purpose. They often represent retreats for warmth-loving and drought-bearing animal and plant species, whose original habitats have been greatly reduced by the creation of the wine terraces. But also the regulation of the microclimate through heat storage is an effect that should not be underestimated, which animal species that need warmth know how to use. Reptiles, above all the conspicuous green lizard and smooth snake, are considered to be character species in this regard. ASS.-PROF. DR.THOMAS WRBKA, University of Vienna, Department of Botany and Biodiversity SOURCE: Das Blatt 2018/2, newspaper of the Vienna Woods Biosphere Reserve UMWELT & Energie

14 BIODIVERSITY above and right. below: The Feeling Nature project serves to raise awareness among schoolchildren. left below: All municipalities in the Lower Austria protected area network can take part. Lower Austria municipalities active for their natural treasures For municipalities that want to make a contribution to the preservation of their typical regional biological diversity in the protected areas together with their population, the Naturland Treasures campaign offers: My municipality provides technical know-how and practical support. TEXT: JULIA KELEMEN-FINAN & THOMAS HOLZER NATURE PROTECTION ACADEMY Even if the biodiversity is constantly decreasing, the communities in the Lower Austria network of protected areas are still home to many natural treasures. Some are well hidden, others need support. The free cutting was a sensational story! Ing.Manfred Schulz, Mayor of Gnadendorf and member of the state parliament, is enthusiastic. More than 60 volunteers from his community responded to the call to cut juniper heather in order to preserve old juniper bushes as well as many other typical natural treasures from the pasque flower to the broad-browed plump insect on the Buschberg. A lot has happened since this kick-off at the beginning of March 2019: Sheep graze again to the delight of the local population and visitors in the middle of the European protected area Weinviertel cliff zone. Gnadendorf, with its special concern to preserve Wacholder, is an active municipality in a constantly growing list of model municipalities from all over Lower Austria that are part of the Naturland Treasures: My municipality does tailor-made activities to protect endangered and rare animals and Implement plant species. Some natural treasures are well hidden, others need support. Tackling for nature conservation. In the municipality of Stockerau, another example of success, a maintenance mission took place for the first time in autumn 2018 in the municipality's own nature reserve, which is part of the Tullnerfelder Donauauen European protected area. The tree of the gods was removed, an invasive neophyte 1) that had spread to areas where diseased ash trees had to be removed. In the meantime, the community has already organized two further care missions with volunteers. A joint snack afterwards, as a thank you for the hard work, welds the enthusiastic together. Mayor Mag.ª (FH) Andrea Völkl said: This is a great showcase project for our city! NATURE CONSERVATION ACADEMY Strength training for body and mind. The market town of Schönberg am Kamp is already taking part. Two care missions with many volunteers took place in October / November 2020 at the Hirnwickl. The aim was to transform a bushy dry grassland into a species-rich flower meadow and to preserve sunny spots for the green lizard, in keeping with the conservation goals for the European protected area Kamp and Kremstal. Local councilor Mag. Stefan Glaser, who was really hard at work himself, then stated: It is good to do something for nature with such a collaborative work - strength training for body and mind. Everyone took the good mood home with them! Further hands-on offers to protect species and habitats are planned, for example in the market communities of Winzendorf and Ladendorf in the Leiser mountains. In the latter, the aim is to give the polluted willows in the natural monument fresh heads: Under 14 ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

15 BIODIVERSITY Feel nature. Other communities start with raising awareness among pupils. The mayfly hatched in my hand! exclaims Bianca, a student at the Weinburg elementary school. A morning full of aha experiences with cool animals and plants on the Pielach in the European Protected Area Lower Austrian Alpine Foreland Rivers brings unforgettable experiences for children and educators as well as many ideas for further outdoor activities. Michaela Flug, director of the Schwarzau im Gebirge Nature Park School, who took advantage of the Feel Nature offer with the entire elementary and middle school, added: The project has a great multiplier effect when the children happily tell what they are experiencing at home to have! The children were particularly fascinated by the strictly protected Black Apollo. The municipalities of Gmünd and Mödling as well as the market town of Jedenspeigen are already part of the nature experience offers for schools or they will start in spring. In Mödling, the Bachgasse grammar school is researching the diversity on the Eichkogel, a biodiversity hotspot in the Vienna Woods-Thermenregion European protected area. The aim is to increase the appreciation for nature conservation highlights on site. With professional guidance, an old population of pollarded willows is mutilated again to provide a new home for rare species of beetles and bats. Expert advice is the key. Communities that have protected areas on their doorstep but are not (yet) sure what would be sensible and practicable to implement can choose the natural treasures advisory service in my community. During a three-hour joint field inspection, the project support team gives tips and suggestions on the actual features on site and where it is important to be active. The focus is on partnership-based cooperation: Everyone who cares about the protected areas in the community is welcome. This offer was also the entry-level activity in Gnadendorf. Experts come here, something has gotten going! Says nature park manager Eveline Lachmayer happily. NATURE CONSERVATION ACADEMY Who can take part? The Naturland Treasures: My community participates campaign is supported by the state of Lower Austria and the EU and coordinated by naturschutzakademie.at. All municipalities in the Lower Austria protected area network can participate, that is, everyone who has a share in a nature reserve, natural monument or European protected area (Natura 2000). The aim is to increase the appreciation for the nature conservation highlights on site, such as rare plant and animal species or threatened habitats, to recognize one's own scope for action and to tackle it together. Project support by local specialists is free and supports the local community in organizing, promoting and carrying out the activities. MAG.ª DR. JULIA KELEMEN-FINAN & DI THOMAS HOLZER coordinate the campaign for naturschutzakademie.at 1) Invasive neophytes are alien plants that pose a problem for nature conservation. ENVIRONMENT & energy

16 BIODIVERSITY above: The possibility of building over parking spaces with PV systems supports the energy transition. below: From now on, every new zoning of building land is linked to a mandatory building requirement. Spatial planning in times of climate change An amendment to the Lower Austrian Spatial Planning Act creates more protection for soil and climate with clear goals. TEXT: GILBERT POMAROLI & DOMINIK DITTRICH In view of the corona pandemic, the topics of climate and soil protection have almost disappeared from the headlines. Nevertheless, they are still at the top of the agenda in regional development. In the last few weeks, for example, an amendment to the spatial planning has been made, which is quite considerable in terms of scope and quality and which brings with it many small but also larger changes and even completely new approaches in selected sectors. Reduction of wasteland for building land.Around a hectare of building land is currently fallow in all of Lower Austria. Around two thirds of this is residential building land and one third is business area. Associated with this are various challenges, particularly in the area of ​​infrastructure costs. From now on, every rededication of building land is associated with a compulsory construction, which must be implemented by the municipalities either through a limited designation for seven years and then automatic reclassification or through spatial planning agreements. New, stricter planning guidelines for the municipalities are intended to support this. Soil protection is climate protection. The restriction on the construction of car parking spaces at supermarkets is to be seen as a decisive contribution against soil sealing. For example, with a sales area of ​​up to 750 m2, one parking space per 20 m2 or a maximum of 30 parking spaces can be set up outdoors at ground level. One parking space per 30 m2 is approved for larger supermarkets. In addition, municipalities can stipulate the greening of flat roofs and parking spaces as well as an area design for the infiltration of surface water. The guiding principle inside before outside was also laid down in the spatial planning amendment. This leads to shorter distances, strengthens the town centers, avoids traffic and thus also serves to protect the climate. The restriction of car parking spaces in front of supermarkets is intended to counteract the sealing of the floor. Building land, residential and core area. Building land-residential area and building land-core area are supplemented by the dedication types building land-residential area-sustainable-development and building land-core area-sustainable-development. The maximum permissible floor area number (GFZ) 1) for these new types of dedication is over 1.0. The development in the building land residential area and building land NEMA78 / STOCK.ADOBE.COM core area, which have already been legally dedicated, and on those areas that will receive these previously existing types of dedication in the future, will be restricted with regard to GFZ. A moderate compression is still possible in these old types of dedication. However, if the GFZ should exceed the value of 1.0, a new dedication procedure must be carried out and the effects, including on the 16 ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

17 BIODIVERSITY Spatial planning programs. In addition, a legally binding spatial planning program for operational uses and one for photovoltaic systems will be drawn up within the next one to two years. By designating suitability zones with special location qualities, the use of the valuable good soil for such uses is to be controlled in a high-quality and foresighted manner. The possibility of building over parking spaces at supermarkets with PV systems supports the energy transition and also secures valuable space. Traffic, new and checked under currently valid aspects. Commercial building land. In the building land operating and building land industrial area, in traffic-loaded areas with a new dedication category, greater attention will be paid in future to whether companies willing to settle really fit into a certain area LAND NÖ / ABT. RU7 or generate too much additional traffic. The new designation types building land-traffic-restricted-operating area and building-land-traffic-restricted-industrial area have been added to the building land / industrial area. What the GFZ of 1.0 means for residential building land is the number of trips per hectare and day in the case of commercial building land. Here the limit was set at 100 journeys per day and hectare. The number of permitted journeys must also be anchored in the zoning plan. Extensions to existing establishments are excluded from this provision. There is also a transition period. This travel restriction, which is specified in the construction process and must be checked for plausibility, will apply to the old types of dedication in the future. Open space photovoltaics. With the sectoral spatial planning program for photovoltaic systems, an important area in the renewable energy sector is being put on a new footing for Lower Austria. The corresponding criteria for the designation of the suitability zones are now regulated by law and should show where systems over two hectares in size can be built in the future. Suitable locations for this would be old landfills or soils with a low agricultural yield. On the other hand, such systems must be identified in a regional spatial planning program. The aim is to coordinate the protection of agricultural areas or areas that are important for nature conservation with the expansion of renewable energies. Landscape protection and the expansion of renewables must be coordinated. Operational uses. With the planned legally binding spatial planning program for operational uses, regional policy impulses are set in a targeted manner by securing the most suitable locations from the point of view of economic and spatial planning policy. Possible conflicts between the different types of use, such as living, recreation, nature, economy, should be minimized, traffic and emissions avoided. In addition, inter-municipal solutions are ideally sought. DI GILBERT POMAROLI & MAG. DOMINIK DITTRICH, Office of the Lower Austrian State Government, Department of Spatial Planning and General Transport Matters 1) The floor area number (GFZ) indicates how many square meters of floor area are permitted per square meter of property. ENVIRONMENT & energy

18 BIODIVERSITY left above: Tristan Toe, Biosain am Wachtelberg right. above: Franziska Lerch, Lerchenhof im Kamptal below: Sabine Schmidt, Biohof Schmidt in the Weinviertel Crisis-proof through diversity Three different farms from Lower Austria show why the Corona crisis could not harm them. TEXT: LEONORE MADER-HIRT MITJA KOBAL / GREENPEACE The Corona crisis hit agriculture hard across Austria in many cases. For some foods, such as milk or beef, the sales market has shrunk massively for months with the closings in tourism and gastronomy. For other farms it was questionable for weeks whether they could manage their harvest of strawberries or asparagus, for example, without the necessary entry for Eastern European seasonal workers. This shows impressively how risky specializing in just one type of vegetable, fruit, meat or individual other animal products can be. If you do a diverse business, there are not so high profit or earnings peaks, but more stability. Positive counterexamples. However, there are also farms in Austria that use as many different plant crops as possible on one farm, sometimes in combination with small-scale animal husbandry. They combine traditional knowledge with modern organic cultivation methods as well as new innovative marketing channels. In addition to the positive effect on the environment, biodiversity and a structured landscape, such businesses are also significantly more resistant to crises and weather influences. The environmental organization Greenpeace and the ARCHE NOAH association present three Lower Austrian family businesses that run their farms organically and with the greatest possible diversity out of conviction and hardly had to complain about negative economic effects during the Corona crisis. Floor culture on the Wachtelberg. Biosain has been a community-run farm in Thunau / Gars am Kamp for two years. Community-based or solidarity-based agriculture means that the harvest dividers pay a contribution at the beginning of the season and receive their share of vegetables every week. In this way the economic risk of production, such as crop failures, is shared. In addition, Biosan sells vegetables on a regional slow food market. A variety of fresh and stored vegetables, fruit and berries are produced on an area of ​​m2 in floor culture. With this cultivation method, inspired by agriculture in desert oases, plants on several floors fulfill different functions or complement each other: Trees that provide shade and produce fruit, berry bushes in between, and vegetables and herbs close to the ground. For the cultivation of 70 types of vegetables, Biosain does not use hybrid varieties, but exclusively seed-proof 1), regionally adapted varieties. The floor culture, the healthy soil, the high diversity and the local adaptation force a very resilient ecosystem. Another focus of Biosan is independence from external inputs such as pesticides, fertilizers and fuel. Since there is no mechanical tillage, only 20 liters of petrol are required per year for the rotary tiller, lawnmower and brushcutter. From Mali to Lower Austria. The manager of Biosain, Tristan Toe, was born in Mali, completed a higher education in seed technology and breeding in France and then worked for the biodynamic seed company Reinsaat for seven years. He also gained practical agricultural experience in various countries and regions. He has been running the business on Wachtberg for six years together with his partner Jahwezi Graf. Multiple pillars and extensive independence promote the resilience of a company. Pioneering company for diversity. The full-time business Schmidt in Neudorf in the northern Weinviertel has been a pioneer company for diversity and organic agriculture with around 60 hectares since 1988. The focus is on special crops and seasonal vegetables. This includes cereals such as amaranth and millet, corn, vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, pumpkin, garlic, beets, but also poppy seeds (including seed propagation), safflower thistle, 18 ENVIRONMENT & energy

19 BIODIVERSITY MITJA KOBAL / GREENPEACE Alfalfa, lentils, chickpeas, linseed, spices for the Sonnentor company and various oils. In addition to this variety of cultivated plants and soil fertility, the resilience of this company results in particular from its economic structure, which is based on several pillars and extensive independence. Around 70% of the production is marketed in our own farm shop. Thanks to the cooperation with permanent partners such as Sonnentor and Foodcoops 2), as well as the fact that only a few work steps are outsourced, the company came through the Corona crisis much better than those who, for example, exclusively supply the catering trade . In the short term, the demand at Biohof Schmidt has even risen sharply. Lerchenhof. This small business in Lower Austria Kamptal has to do without subsidies due to its small size. Operational manager Franziska Lerch is a graduate agricultural engineer (FH) and has completed training on biodynamic farms. A large variety of vegetables is produced on just half a hectare, honey and sheep meat from 13 ewes and some cereal rarities. In addition to food, solid seeds are produced for ARCHE NOAH and young plants MITJA KOBAL / GREENPEACE. It is sold through direct marketing on the farm, in markets and to three restaurants. This diverse orientation brings security against unpredictable weather and economic shocks. The particular strengths of this company lie in the small-scale structure of the fields, the fallow land and the healthy soil. During the Corona crisis, direct demand increased, but at the same time one of the three fixed catering establishments at Lerchenhof broke away as a customer. To this end, many new projects, such as farmers' markets, organic shops and food coops, have been set up in the area. This in turn confirms the general upswing for direct marketers during the corona crisis. In order for these changes in the direction of local supply structures to be really sustainable, however, fair food prices, cooperation instead of competitive thinking and corresponding political framework conditions are required. EDITORIAL SOURCE: final_mit_vielfaeltiger_landwirtschaft_sicherheit_ durch_die_krise_report_2020.pdf 1) Non-seed varieties can pass on their properties to subsequent generations and are therefore suitable for re-cultivation. 2) Foodcoops are associations of people and households who, in a self-organized manner, purchase products directly from farms and nurseries. ENVIRONMENT & energy

20 BIODIVERSITY A crab spider attacks a wild bee on a diptam flower. MRKVICKA Nature worth protecting right on the doorstep The Network Nature Region Thermenlinie-Wiener Becken is a cross-community cooperation with numerous partner organizations for the preservation of biological diversity in the immediate living environment. TEXT: IRENE DROZDOWSKI, SANDRA GIRSCH & ALEXANDER MRKVICKA The thermal bath line, from Vienna-Döbling in the north to the municipality of Ternitz in the south, and the southern Vienna Basin are among the most biodiverse areas in Austria. This region is a biodiversity hotspot of European importance. The basis for this are the diverse climatic and landscape influences caused by the meeting of the Alps and the Pannonian Plain. Open land 1) habitats are particularly valuable, such as dry steppe grasslands, wet and poor meadows, former quarries and gravel pits. The barren, particularly colorful flowering dry grasslands are the most insect-rich biotopes in Central Europe. Special features such as Brunner's beautiful schrecke and Cantabrian winds only live in this region in Austria. The Austrian heather snail and the thick-root spoonbill are only found here worldwide. Three Natura 2000 areas are part of this region, although there are also many valuable areas outside. This region is a biodiversity hotspot of European importance. Loss of land in open land. Open land habitats have existed here for at least years. They are therefore older than any forest in Central Europe. For a long time they were kept open by large herbivores such as mammoth and bison. In the Neolithic Age, the animals of our ancestors took over the grazing of the species-rich landscape, until these almost completely disappeared after the Second World War due to the restructuring of agriculture. It is precisely these extensively used grazing areas that are therefore under great threat today. In the last 60 years, over 70% of the (semi) dry grassland and over 90% of the wet meadows have been lost due to drainage, intensification, construction or afforestation or forested due to lack of use. Today the remaining areas are like islands in the landscape. This makes the genetic exchange between your organisms impossible and jeopardizes their survival. There are also problems 20 ENVIRONMENT & energy

21 BIODIVERSITY Esparsetten Widderchen Small peacock butterfly laying eggs MRKVICKA (LI.), DROZDOWSKI (R.) DROZDOWSKI (LI.), MRKVICKA (R.) A gall wasp crawls out of an oak gall. Green lizard due to climate change, such as the sinking of the water table or the spread of invasive neophytes 2). With a network of people, a network of natural areas should be created. A network as a solution. The landscape care association Thermenlinie-Wienerwald-Wiener Becken (LPV) has been committed to the preservation and restoration of valuable open land habitats and thus to the long-term protection of biological diversity since 2017. We don't want to wait for others to do something, we want to take the initiative ourselves and tackle it, set activities together and motivate as many people as possible to participate. Only in this way will we be able to show the wonderful biological diversity of our region to our grandchildren! The LPV team is convinced. To this end, the association set up the Natur Region Thermenlinie-Wiener Becken network. The aim is to involve the people living in the region in the preservation of the valuable habitats by getting them excited about the local nature. You don't have to drive far to discover natural features. They are right on our doorstep. Enthusiasm creates a relationship with the heart, identification and the motivation to tackle things yourself. Farmers as important partners. During landscape maintenance work, dry grass is cleared and wet meadows are mowed together. Farmers are important partners in grazing and mowing. In all measures, care is taken to take into account the requirements of the often sensitive, endangered animal and plant species. Many bushes are hacked out and not cut back manually every year. Other woody plants are preserved like a mosaic and in different sizes for butterfly caterpillars, dead wood dwellers or highly specialized gall wasps, because the insect world is demanding and suffers from measures that are apparently efficient and at the same time too extensive. Important stepping stones. Not only are existing biodiversity hotspots secured, but new stepping stones are also created to reconnect areas. The vision is a networked, blooming landscape in which there is a natural area for wild bees, butterflies and the like at least every 300 m. That is the distance that smaller wild bee species can cover. This ensures the genetic exchange from one hotspot to the next and thus ensures the long-term survival of the species. Cooperation with municipalities. The LPV cooperates intensively with municipalities, which are often owners of valuable natural areas. 22 Lower Austrian municipalities and two districts of the City of Vienna are currently part of the Nature Region network. They all appreciate the professional support provided by the LPV, as they often have little practical experience in the field of biodiversity conservation. The LPV supports the preservation of existing valuable areas and accompanies the greening of parks, recreation areas or embankments.Due to the maintenance work and the change in the slope maintenance, our community is much more blooming and the restored dry grassland has become a characteristic of the landscape. This not only pleases the animal world, but also the population and guests. They appreciate intact nature more than ever before. With the joint care assignments, people's pride and identification with their living environment and community increase, says Christoph Kainz, Mayor of Pfaffstätten and Lower Austrian state parliament member, enthusiastic about the results of the activities. Also the important exchange between UMWELT & Energie

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