The Wilderness Academy Days 2019 will be held in the Lungau Biosphere Reserve. The Lungau region was designated a Biosphere Reserve in 2012 by UNESCO, and it is currently Austria’s largest biosphere reserve. It is a representative example of an inner-alpine landscape, which has been the site of human settlement for many thousand years. The European Wilderness Society main office is based in the Lungau Biosphere Reserve, and we are proud to have the Wilderness Academy in one of Austria’s most beautiful landscapes.
What is a Biosphere Reserve?
A Biosphere Reserve is an area of land comprised of multiple ecosystems, where social and ecological systems are managed together. This includes biodiversity conservation, but it goes beyond traditional protected area management by also working with local communities to foster sustainable development initiatives, and integrate cultural and biological diversity.
A Biosphere Reserve is comprised of three zones:
- Core area(s) – a strictly protected ecosystem that contributes to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.
- Buffer zone – surrounds or adjoins the core areas, and is used for activities such as scientific research, monitoring, training and education.
- Transition area – where the greatest activity is allowed, which is fostering sustainable economic and human development.
Lungau Biosphere Reserve
The Lungau spans 150 000 ha, and is composed of high mountains and deep valleys, which range from 600 to 3000 metres above sea level. It has a diverse range of ecosystems, including alpine meadows, woodland and glaciers. It also contains the largest bog complex in Austria – the Ramsar protected area “Überling mires”. The Biosphere Reserve is home to many rare and endangered species, including the lynx and eagle owl.
Historically, the human inhabitants of the region were in agriculture, trade or mining. Nowadays ecotourism is leading the way as the main source of income, thanks to the natural beauty of the area.
During the Wilderness Academy, there will be a choice of three excursions into the Biosphere Reserve, to enable learning, discovery and wonder of this beautiful landscape.