VIENNESE WOOD - Enough wood for city and river? Vienna’s wood resources in dynamic Danube floodplains

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What do we know about the natural productivity of riparian forests on large rivers prior to regulation and about their function as a source of raw materials and renewable energy? Can we draw conclusions for a sustainable resource management based on a historical reconstruction of the available timber resources centuries ago?
The project "Enough wood for city and river? Vienna’s wood resources in dynamic Danube floodplains" is designed to answer these questions.
An interdisciplinary research team consisting of river morphologists, vegetation/forest ecologists, and environmental historians investigates the Viennese Danube river landscape prior to regulation between 1820 and 1830 with a focus on three central topics:
(1) River morphological/forest ecological site conditions and natural productivity potential for wood resources in dynamic Danube floodplains before channelization,
(2) Historical use of locally available wood resources in a biomass-based society,
(3) Development possibilities of Danube riparian forests against the background of ecological/nature conservation requirements and the objectives for a sustainable management of renewable resources.

Besides new findings in respect of the sustainable use of semi-natural, partially restored riparian forests, the research project will also yield new insights into Vienna’s urban history and the historical change of its Danube river landscape. 

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October, 2012 to September, 2013