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Grosses Walsertal Biosphere Reserve, Austria

Six villages within a single alpine valley form the Grosses Walsertal Biosphere Reserve, situated in the western part of Austria. The valley is a prime example of a living cultural landscape, where, since its occupation by the Walser people in the 13th and 14th centuries, a system of highly adapted mountain farming, pasture and extensive forestry has been developed.

Designation date: 2000


Regional network:  EuroMAB

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 19,200 ha

    • Core area(s): 4,010 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 2,824 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 12,366 ha

    Location: 47°13'8"N - 9°54'8"E

    Administrative Authorities

    Management for the Great Walser Valley Biosphere Park
    Anna Weber, MSc
    Boden 34
    A-6731 Sonntag
    Tel.: +43 05550 20360

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    Ecological Characteristics

    Forests, meadows, ravines, springs, streams, hills, cliffs, mountain tops, alps and karst formations: Due to its geological and morphological variety the entire Grosses Walsertal valley is a single huge biotope rich in flora and fauna.

    As an example, the valleys famous mountain meadows contain many herbs, various types of gentian and orchids. 90% of the Grosses Walsertal biosphere park is natural and cultivation landscapes. But nature is not the only topic here: Great attention is laid on developing possibilities to earn money and further to keep living in the valley: For a long time, livestock farming was the essential lively-hood here.

    Today, most of the workforce commutes elsewhere to their jobs. In the valley itself, the possibilities for earning a living are farming, tourism and a few skilled trade enterprises. Development zones 6,393 acres (13%) Living, economic and recreation space for residents and visitors. The entire permanent settlement area of the Grosses Walsertal valley is part of the development zone. Cultivation zones 32,942 acres (69 %) In the Grosses Walsertal valley, these are primarily mountain forests, alpine pastures and traditionally cultivated mountain meadows. Core zones 8,165 acres (17%)

    In the Grosses Walsertal valley, they are the nature conservation areas Gadental and Faludriga-Nova, the mountain river Lutz, the Kirschwald- Ischkarnei area, the Tiefenwald moor region and Rote Wand (literally “Red Wall”), the highest mountain of the valley. This zoning has not created any new regulations; each of these areas already had a special protective status under nature conservation laws prior to the new zoning.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Walserstolz (Walser Pride): High-quality mountain cheese from the region.

    Our partners: About 40 tourism companies have committed themselves to nature by complying with a criteria catalogue.

    Mountain timber: A project for the marketing of high-quality eco-timber with certified origins.

    Box with delicious specialities: Marketing support for regional produce.

    Renewable energy: The efficient use of energy has high significance in the biosphere park.

    Excursions and environmental education: Experiential weeks for schoolchildren and an extensive excursion program for visitors of the biosphere park.

    Walser EigenArt: Typical crafts from the Walser valley


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    Last updated: October 2018