Environmental quality and monitoring

Austria’s environmental quality objectives are monitored by means of quality measurements. However, we also watch how Austrians perceive the quality of the environment.

Environmental quality objectives

A list of environmental quality objectives compiled by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Environment (BMLFUW) is to provide orientation and facilitate future-oriented and precautionary political action.
The starting point was the question: Where are the natural limits?

With the environmental quality objectives for the fields of
• Climate
• Air
• Ultraviolet radiation
• Ionising radiation
• Energy and material flows
• Landscape
• Ecosystems
• Water
• Healthy lakes and rivers
• Preservation of the groundwater reservoirs
• Soil
• Toxic substances and substances dangerous for the environment
• Noise
priorities for the environment are set while at the same time allowing the assessment of measures taken in different political fields in terms of their impacts on the environment.


Trends concerning the environment status and stress

Corresponding to the objectives set out for the environment-related topics indicators were formulated which are subject to current monitoring. In the framework of the “monitoring of sustainable development in Austria”  they describe and illustrate the ecological development. The indicator data are updated at least once in two years and are published in the MONE Indicator Reports.


The Austrians’ perception of the environment

The Austrians‘ perception of the environmental quality and environmental problems is to a large, in some cases even surprisingly high extent in line with the results of technical and physical measurements or surveys. And the “status of the natural environment” ranks very high in people’s assessment of the factors influencing the quality of life.

In the publication “Umwelt in Österreich: Messergebnisse und Wahrnehmung der Bevölkerung im Vergleich“ (German only) the results of physical measurements and technical surveys were compared with people’s perception.

The contribution of the environment as a factor of the Austrians‘ well-being and the assessment of the environmental quality in Austria compared to that in Europe were analysed in a study on the well-being of the Austrian people “Wohlbefinden der österreichischen Bevölkerung“  (English summary and link to the brochure “Well-being of the Austrian people”).

Monitoring the diversity of the living environment

On behalf of the BMLFUW experts from different technical fields elaborated a concept for the collection of data of our biotic environment (Biodiversity Monitoring System) for Austria.

The list of indicators proposed provides a first overview, the MOBI-e final report (231 pages), which includes also an English summary, and its annex with detailed technical information (501 pages) present additional, profound information.

Based on the indicators selected the development of biological diversity were interpreted in the Indicator Reports (MOBI Indicator Reports of May 2008 and September 2010).

The last report of November 2013 (“state and importance of biodiversity in Austria”) was in addition to that extended by the description of the functions and the benefits of certain ecosystems in Austria in order to illustrate the value of biodiversity.

The evaluation of indicators from the below fields:
• Species and habitats;
• Forests;
• Alps;
• Cultivated landscape;
• Water bodies;
• Soil;
• Nature conservation;
• Fragmentation
draws a discerning picture of the situation. The diversity of species and habitats is under strong pressure in Austria. The use of areas for settlements and infrastructure (roads etc.), climate change, but also light emissions affect this diversity. For Austria’s cultivated landscape, including the mountain areas, subsidisation programmes are important measures to mitigate unfavourable developments.

published at 18.11.2015, Abteilung Präs. 5 - Kommunikation und Service