Biodiversity in Styrian Eisenwurzen UNESCO Global Geopark

Sustainable local food production in the Nature and Styrian Eisenwurzen UNESCO Global Geopark

Where we are

Its beautiful forests, romantic river valleys and idyllic farms mark the Styrian Eisenwurzen Nature and Geopark Park in Austria. It has a real rural character, with a population of 6100 over an area of 586 km².

Territory

During the last few decades, the area has had a lot of outward migration due to a decrease of job opportunities. To counteract this, the area now relies on sustainable tourism to preserve job opportunities and economic value. This includes the preservation of cultural landscape, nature and cultural heritage to attract tourism. A big part of this will rely on the local Orchards.

These groups of (fruit) trees cultivated to produce food have a long history in the Styrian Eisenwurzen. The meadow orchards are very significant for the local economy and tourism in the area. Furthermore, they are especially valuable as a habitat for native species of plants and animals. The traditional orchards are havens for biodiversity, offering both food and shelter to thousands of species.

Rural Heritage

In recent years, the challenges of protecting and using meadow orchards have become increasingly difficult, since the management of this area involves a lot of work and effort. Therefore, this type of landscape has become an endangered element of the countryside. In order to preserve this valuable resource of the region, the Nature- and Geopark Styrian Eisenwurzen started with a three-year project called “Meadow orchard of the Nature- and Geopark Styrian Eisenwurzen”.  The Nature Park will play an active role in the entire life and production cycle: from renewal, maintenance, harvesting, processing and distribution to the marketing of the fruit and its by-products. This can create jobs, open up new opportunities for cooperation and support for the regional economy.