A unique project in Austria has examined the forests of Styria and made some amazing discoveries. Biodiversity in managed forests appears to be greater than expected.
The Styrian Forest is much visited, but has recently been much less researched than, say, the rainforests of South America. So the Styrian Chamber of Agriculture, biologists from the University of Graz and the Global Goan Museum as well as other experts examined the local forests for four years.
More than 1000 species of animals are found
The results of this project in Styria are causing a stir across the country because they show how much life exists in Austria’s forests, even if they are regularly managed by hand and by machines. Martin Krondorfer heads the Forestry Training Center Pichl (FAST Pichl) in St. Barbara in Mürztal, where investigations have revealed amazing things: “We found 1,028 species of different animals, 780 species of fungi, 204 species of plants, and 160 species of lichens.” And algae in addition.”
The discovered species has never been discovered
This also includes many first finds that were never discovered in Styria and were not suspected of being in our forests. “This is, for example, the Bohemian woodlouse-eater, a species of spider that has never been discovered before, at least in Styria.” Scientists also found a pseudoscorpion measuring just 2.5 mm in size, “the first of its kind to be discovered in Europe.” It will be given a German name, and is now called the Pichler Scissor Jumper.
And the research group led by Martin Krondorfer is already in the middle of the next project: by next year, the treetops will also be examined for life forms – something that has never been done before in this form in Styria.
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