Expertise of UNIVIE

The University of Vienna (UNIVIE) was founded by Duke Rudolf IV in 1365, being modelled after the universities of Bologna and Paris. The University of Vienna is the oldest university in the German-speaking world and one of the largest universities of Central Europe. 63,000 students are currently enrolled at the University which offers more than 135 degree programmes, among them 21 Bachelor programmes und 26 Master programmes.

The 4,800 members of the scientific staff of the University of Vienna engage in teaching and research in the following scientific areas:
Catholic Theology, Protestant Theology, Law, Business, Economics and Statistics, Computer Science, Historical-Cultural Sciences, Philological-Cultural Sciences, Philosophy and Educational Sciences, Psychology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy, Life Sciences, Translation Studies as well as Sports Sciences.

The ever-shorter planning intervals in the economic sector and in society as a whole make university research – which is often interdisciplinary and more long-term oriented – particularly important. Such long-term, interdisciplinary research programs continue to provide decisive impulses for developments.
The University of Vienna traditionally has strong international relations in research and teaching and continually expands its international relations. In most of the fields of inquiry represented at the university, research typically involves intensive cooperation with colleagues abroad. Top-notch research efforts that can withstand strictest scrutiny are typically the product of such international cooperation.

The Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation and Landscape Ecology has a long tradition in several scientific fields with focus on vegetation in a regional but on a global perspective too. So the department’s main tasks are:

  • Analysis and description of global vegetation in Austria and globally
  • Comparative high mountain ecology
  • Vegetation and ecology of wetlands
  • Landscape ecology
  • Development of new methods in vegetation ecology
  • Bio-indication

Specific research in conservation biology is focused on naturalness of vegetation, biodiversity hot spots in Austria, and gap analysis for conservation. How to apply vegetation ecology to landscape planning and nature conservation has always been a matter of special emphasis at the department. Comprehensive studies for managing river systems, national parks and other objects of conservation interest have been elaborated as pilot studies to provide a standard in conservation practice. All staff members are active in advising conservation initiatives and official boards.

One working group is drawing attention to climate change effects on high-mountain and arctic environments. The investigation of vegetation and habitat characters of wetlands, in particular mires and ecology and biodiversity of bryophytes is a further focal point at the department.

The maintenance of traditional human made landscapes or cultural landscapes has become a matter of broad interest during recent years. Scientists are exploring this field trying to find an objective way in landscape classification, analysing structural and functional landscape components, and finally trying to present solutions for the future development, both for Austrian and in the European context.

Involvement in EU-funded projects

  • ENVIP-Nature (15454-1999-11 F1ED ISP AT): “Landscape typology and indicators for nature protection”, financed by the European Commission within the framework of the EURO LANDSCAPE Project of the Joint Research Centre (JRC, Ispra), 2000-2003.
  • BioHab (EVK2-CT-2002-20018): A framework for the co-ordination of Biodiversity and Habitats, Concerted Action financed by the FP5 of the European Union, 2002-2005.
  • PAN (EVK2-2001-00221): Pan European Thematic Network on Cultural Landscapes and their Ecosystems, Thematic Network financed by the FP5 of the European Union, 2002-2005.
  • ELCAI (EVK2-CT-2002-80021): European Landscape Character Assessment Initiative, Accompanying Measure financed by the FP5 of the European Union, 2003-2004.
  • SENSOR (003874 GOCE): “Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental, Social and Economic Effects of Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions”. Integrated Project financed by the FP6 of the European Union, 2004 - 2008.
  • ECL (2004-1492/001-001 CLT CA22): Our Common European Cultural Landscape Heritage. Cultural Cooperation Agreement in the framework of Culture 2000, 2004 –2007