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On 2 February 2018, the consortium of forestry associations from the Alpine regions (ARGE) met for the twelfth time to present the Helvetia Alpine Protection Forest Award.

22 projects and ideas were submitted from Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. The international jury honoured the following projects with a first prize:

“School projects” category

The Imst Unterstadt school from Tyrol, Austria, impressed the jury with its project entitled “The forest protects, is useful and educates”. It provides schoolchildren during their four years of primary school with in-depth knowledge about the significance of the forest as an eco-system.

“PR work, innovation and protection forest partnerships” category

The Tyrol project “Protecting nature in the mountain forest” is a community project between the Karwendel park and the Oberinntal forestry service, part of Österreichische Bundesforste AG, a state-owned forestry company. The project is implementing findings from ornithological surveys in the Karwendel park in forest-related measures.

“Successful projects” category

The “Buech” reforestation project was set up around 60 years ago. Thanks to cultivation combined with avalanche barriers, the forest now offers the village of Amden full protection.

The jury's “special prize”

The salt industry and hunting are the main reasons why the trees – mainly firs – in the Berchtesgaden Alpine National Park are often subject to bark stripping. The example of the Steinberg, above the municipality of Ramsau, shows that targeted hunting, supplemented with the artificial rejuvenation of beech and fir in group selections, allowed the firs to be successfully expanded into mixed forests.

Professor Ulrich Ammer to be the third protection-forest patron

This year, Ulrich Ammer from Eichendorf, Germany, has been recognized for his services to protection forests. Ulrich Ammer worked for decades to promote constructive cooperation among a variety of forest stakeholder groups. He proved that managing forests can preserve or even increase biodiversity. His scientific analyses on forest development proved early on that there is a need for protection forest regeneration in order to preserve the protective function of mountain forests.