Wildlife/ ecological spatial planning

Wildlife/ ecological spatial planning
Wild animals often cause damage in cultual landscapes. © Carsten Przygoda/ pixelio.de

Involved sectors

Agriculture, Forestry, Water management, Hunting, Spatial planning, Tourism and leisure, Nature protection, Municipalities

Affected habitats

Forest, Shrubs and wooded areas, Bogs and fens, wetlands, Alpine habitats, Grassland, Arable land, Areas for settlements and transport, Waterbodies


Wildlife/ecological spatial planning (WÖRP) is an instrument developed in Austria and is used in a number of Austrian states, as well as the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The aim of this concept is better long-term incorporation of native species of wildlife into the cultural landscape. In this context, the protection and sustainable use of wildlife populations and the avoidance of damage to wildlife in agriculture and forestry are of key importance. An integrated planning approach aims to harmonise the creation of biotope networks with studies on game stocks and the carrying capacity of biotopes. WÖRP can be applied, in principle, to all wildlife species. It includes large-scale spatial planning (nationwide basic planning) related to the spatial distribution of wildlife populations and detailed regional planning.


Impact in particular on Big mammals, Birds
Ecological impact  
Reduction of fragmentation or creation of new valuable habitats The aim of WÖRP is the conservation of species-appropriate coherent habitats for wildlife. Habitat connectivity is an essential part of habitat conservation.
Improvement or preservation of habitats It includes habitat conservation and improvement measures, overwintering concepts for hoofed game, and minimisation of use-related conflicts.
Element of ecological network Building on the results of WÖRP, appropriate connectivity measures are adopted, including the construction of green bridges.
Other In infrastructural projects, WÖRP helps to provide an initial pointer to the significance of the habitat for wildlife, which can then be taken into account during planning.
Time of realisation for measure Long term: Implementation of WÖRP is a long-term process which must constantly be adapted to changing conditions.
Impact scope Regional: The regulations governing WÖRP divide the countryside into wildlife spaces, wildlife regions and wildlife zones. It involves regional planning across a wide area, which is intended to provide a basis for detailed local plans.


Implementation period Months: As WÖRP is a complex planning tool requiring substantial information, the process takes time.
Frequency Non-recurring: Single though long-term process; may require subsequent complementation or adaptation.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs High (100'000-1 Mio EUR): Dependent on many different factors (size of area, detail of plans, etc.) so varies widely from case to case.
Socio-economic impacts High: May have considerable impacts on spatial planning, farming, hunting etc.
Sources of financing Other private sources, Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national, Public: European
Legal situation In Austria, specific regulations (WÖRP-Verordnung) governing WÖRP are in place. In some federal states in Austria, WÖRP is established in hunting legislation.

Further information

Evaluation Complex but successful planning tool which has also proved its worth in an international context (along the tri-border area between Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). At international level, in conjunction with Natura 2000 and protected areas, WÖRP has found solutions to problems arising between protected and non-protected areas.
Information Other: The Austrian states of Vorarlberg, Salzburg, Carinthia, and Liechtenstein, Graubünden (CH), and Austria's National Parks (Kalkalpen, Donau-Auen).
Contact Austria: Salzburg federal state: Dipl.-Ing. Rupert Haupolter; Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna: Prof. Dr. Friedrich Reimoser

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