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General information

The BFW is an Austrian federal, multidisciplinary research and education centre which holds the legal status of an institution under public law. The BFW consists of six specialist institutions, two forest training centres (Traunkirchen in Upper Austria and Ossiach in Carinthia), one library and documentation office and numerous internal service centres.

The head office of the BFW is located in Schönbrunn, Vienna; with another office in Innsbruck. A research garden is located in Tulln (Lower Austria) and a training and research forest in Carinthia. 

The BFW currently employs a total of about 276 people. The overseeing bodies of the BFW are the Director and the Economic Council; within which the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism and the employees are represented.


Brochure: We know all about forests pdf
Organigram pdf



Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Peter Mayer has been the Director of the Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW) since 1st August 2010. Prior to that, he served as Director of IUFRO, the International Union of Forest Research Organisations.

Peter Mayer studied forestry at the University for Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna followed by political science at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna. In the course of his dissertation, he addressed the competencies of the forestry industry in Austria in regard to recreation and society. From 1996 to 1998 he was active in international forestry policy for the Ministry of Life, after which he was responsible, as Director of the Liason Unit in Vienna, for the organisation of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, which took place in Vienna in 2003.

Peter Mayer regards the development of the strengths of the BFW in research, monitoring, services and transmission of knowledge as its main goal. In addition to this, the BFW should play an important role as the meeting point between research and national and international forestry and environmental policy.

Economic Affairs Council

Tasks of the board

Under the provisions of the BFW Outsourcing Act the board is charged with the supervision of the management of the research centre. The Board consists of six members appointed for five years, and meets at least four times a year. Priority tasks of the EC are the continuous supervision of the BFW management and the approval of business concept, working programmes and financial plans.


Dr. Johannes Schima, Chairman Deputy department leader of the Department of Forestry Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management

Dipl.-Ing. Elfriede Moser, Deputy Chairman

(Photo: Petra Kargl)
Provincial Director for Forestry, Upper Austria

Dr. Wolfgang Mayrhofer
Federal Ministry for Finances, Budget Dep. II, Div. 10

Mag. Barbara Christandl-Reithmayer

(Photo: Sissi Furgler)
Solicitor, Adult Trainer

Dipl.-Ing. Wolfgang Russ
Deputy Chairman of Staff Council at BFW Vienna

Cornelia Rauch
Chairwoman of the Staff Council at the Forest Training Centre at Ossiach

Vision of the board

The process of outsourcing generates new responsibilities and requires institutions which support, accompany and shape the newly acquired independence in an appropriate way. Under the provisions of the BFW Outsourcing Act, the Board (Economic Affairs Council) is charged with the supervision of the management of BFW. The members of the board have an enlarged vision of this task. Emphasis is placed on two elements: firstly, the board considers it a priority to meet the demands of the owner and to translate them into strategic guidelines. Secondly, the role of the EC is to support the management in the implementation of strategic goals in the best possible way without getting involved too heavily in daily business. It should be the responsibility of the Board to foster the strategic positioning of BFW, taking into accounts both priorities and competences. Finally, our aim is to ensure the sustainable success of an independent research centre, facilitating the cooperation between the management and the owner.

This goal can only be reached with purposeful personnel who are prepared to face new challenges and structures. In this sense, we will try to resolve all staff-related concerns arising within our scope of duties, although we do not consider ourselves to be a contact point for permanent intervention. Of course, we are searching for pro-active communication and attach high importance to information and transparency. This kind of vision applies also to activities and decisions taken within the board.

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Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape
Austria, 1131 Vienna, Seckendorff-Gudent-Weg 8 | Tel.: +43 1 878 38-0,
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