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Wetlands, Environment, Society and Pressures: Effects of environmental changes on the ecological and social functions of riverine wetlands (WESPe)

Project Leader
Hein Thomas, Project Leader
Sparkling Science
Type of Research
Basic Research
Project partners
Wassercluster Lunz - biologische Station GmbH, Lunz am See, Austria.
Contact person: Dr. Gabriele Weigelhofer;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner

Further information:

Arnberger Arne, Sub Projectleader
Eder Renate, Project Staff
Winkler Peter, Project Staff (bis 31.12.2011)
BOKU Research Units
Institute for Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning
Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG)
Funded by
Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung, Minoritenplatz, 1010 Wien, Austria
Riverine wetlands belong to the most threatened ecosystems of the world. The massive river regulation measures during the last 100 years, together with other human impacts, have led to dramatic changes in the water balance and in the ecologic situation. Global climate changes, increasing land use pressures and pollution present an additional stress for these rich and diverse ecosystems which threatens their basic ecological functions.

The aim of the 2-year research project WESPe is to study the effects of environmental changes and increased stress levels on the ecological and social functions of riverine wetlands. Our study area is the floodplain Lobau in the Danube River Basin, an ecological valuable nature reserve immediately at the border of the city of Vienna. The global warming, the frequent changes between dry periods and catastrophic floods as well as the increasing number of visitors influence the structure, diversity and stability of the sensitive aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats and affect their attractiveness as recreation places.

In our project, researchers from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, and of the Interdisciplinary Water Research Institute WasserKluster Lunz work together with students of the schools HS Orth, GRG 10, BRG 18 and Francisco Josephinum Wieselburg to analyse the interactions between stress intensity by environmental and human factors, ecological functioning and attractiveness of floodplain habitats. Emphasis is given to the significance of riverine wetlands for the life quality of young people.
plant ecology; animal ecology; ecological system research; geomorphology; climatology; hydrobiology; interdisciplinary natural science; Sustainable development, sustainable economics; general social research; children/youth research; spatial research; geographic information systems (GIS); Landscape ecology; Cultural landscape research; technical didactics (natural sciences);
research - education - cooperation; climate change; ecological and social carrying capacity; urban riverine wetland;

Arnberger, A., Eder, R. (2012): Adolescents’ preferred river landscapes for recreation depending on human impact and river dynamic.
[15th European Forum on Urban Forestry EFUF 2012, Leipzig, Germany, 08.05.2012 - 12.05.2012]

In: Helmholtz Centre For Environmental Research - UFZ, Urban Forests - Ecosystem Services and Sustainable Maintenance, p. 20

Arnberger, A., Eder, R. (2012): Alluvial forests for adolescents? Adolescents’ preferences for river landscapes as places for recreation depending on the degree of naturalness..
[1st Conference on Forests for People 2012 - International experiences and the vital role of forests for the future, Alpbach, Austria, 22.05.2012 - 24.05.2012]

In: Pröbstl, U., 1st Conference on Forest for People


Arnberger, A., Eder., R. (2012): Adolescents’ Preferred Natural River Landscapes for Recreation - A Question of Heterogeneity?.

NERR 2012, April 1-3, 2012, Cooperstown, NY

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