Forest EcoValue

Supporting the diverse ecosystem services of the forest through new circular organic markets and value chains.
Strengthening the ecosystem services of the forest

Forests in the Alpine region are seriously threatened by declining utilization and climate change, which is leading to a decline in natural resources and the essential services provided by forests. This in turn leads to high costs that make it difficult for both public and private owners to manage forests sustainably.

The Forest EcoValue project remedies this by proposing sustainable business models that focus on circular, green and organic value chains in sectors such as energy, construction, chemicals/pharmaceuticals, food and recreation.

By bringing together the efforts of the public and private sectors, as well as the participation of citizens, Forest EcoValue aims to create market frameworks and payment systems for forest ecosystem services. Through these sustainable business models, Forest EcoValue can create green businesses and green jobs, thus boosting the economy of the entire region.

1 Pilot campaign with 5 Living Labs

The proposed solutions will be tested in a pilot action. This consists of a network of 5 Living Labs in Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia.

The project focuses on the use of forest areas in terms of

  • Provision (e.g. biomass, raw materials, chemicals)
  • Regulation and conservation (e.g. biodiversity, natural risk reduction, CO2 absorption)
  • Culture (e.g. recreation, habitat experience, health).
Project key data

Period of the program
2021 – 2027

Promoting the transition to a circular and resource-efficient economy

Start date

End date

The Austrian Living Lab

The Austrian Living Lab covers the whole of Styria, the most densely forested province in Austria with a forest cover of 61.4%. From floodplains and wine regions at 200 m above sea level to high alpine areas at up to 3,000 m, the forest composition is very diverse. It ranges from typical alluvial forests in the south with poplar, willow, alder and oak to lower acidic soil areas with beech-oak forests with fir and sweet chestnut in the east to spruce, beech, pine, fir, ash and sycamore in the medium altitudes and up to larch and Swiss stone pine in the high mountains. 65 % of the forest area is coniferous forest, 27 % is mixed forest and 8 % is deciduous forest. 17.2 % of the forest area is protected forest. Thanks to legally prescribed reforestation and sustainable use, the forest area is increasing and thus acts as an important CO2 sink.

1/6 of Styria’s economic output

Unique in Austria is the “dynamic forest typification”, which enables even non-professionals to select climate-adapted tree species and thus increase stability and biodiversity. 22.9 % of Styrian forests are owned by large forest owners (more than 1000 ha), 55 % are owned by small forest owners (less than 200 ha), and approx. 9 % are owned by Österreichische Bundesforste AG. Forests are responsible for 1/6 of Styria’s economic output. Styrian forests provide a range of important ecosystem services, from the provision of wood and CO2 sequestration to protection, habitat and recreational functions.


Forest Eco Services

  • Biodiversity and habitat conservation: This ecosystem service is of crucial importance for the Living Lab in Styria, especially in view of the loss of biodiversity – one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. The health and resilience of our forests are closely linked to their biodiversity. With climate change bringing more extreme weather events and increased pest infestations, ensuring the resilience of our forests is becoming a crucial factor, not only for the wood processing industry, but also for local communities. Furthermore, with the recent passing of the EU Nature Restoration Act, there is a growing awareness and demand from the public to conserve biodiversity, further increasing the importance of habitat conservation initiatives in the region.
  • Carbon stability and sequestration: Improving the provision of this ecosystem service is of great importance in the context of climate change. The importance of carbon sequestration and storage cannot be overstated, especially considering the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally. Unfortunately, common forest management practices such as clear-cutting and monocultures disrupt the delicate carbon balance of forests. By prioritizing carbon stability, the region is helping to mitigate climate change while promoting sustainable management practices for ecosystems.
Funded by


Interreg Alpine Space Program

supports cross-border cooperation projects and enables joint transnational solutions.

Expert Bioeconomy and Circular Economy Wood
Kilian Silberschneider, Holzcluster Steiermark


Current Projects

Systemoptimierung im österreichischen Holzbau