Woodland is an important habitat, covering an area of 50% in the National Park. It was a vital resource in the region in former times. A great deal has changed from the production of charcoal to modern forestry management. The transformation from spruce-dominated commercial forests to a well-structured mixed woodland of spruce, fir and beech in the Gesäuse National Park will also take time.
Despite the mountainous character of the Gesäuse, the major part of the National Park is not covered by high-alpine forests, but by montane and sub-alpine forests. A wide variety of forest types can be found depending on the soil and altitude – from riparian forests along the River Enns through to larch and Swiss stone pine forests at high altitudes. The forest inventory has identified 14 different forest types, which can be further divided into sub-types. The most important forest types to be found in the Gesäuse are briefly described in the following.
The more diverse the woodland structures, the more diverse the inhabitants. They use the rich supply of food plants, hide in the thicket, live in dead trees or seek shelter in the dense canopies. Roe deer, hare, fox, woodpecker and beetles – they all are part of the food network in woodland habitats.