Scientific symposium: keeping the Lobau alive

20. April 2022
On 27 and 28 April 2022, the symposium Lobau soll leben: Wasser für die Au – Erkenntnisse und Perspektiven der Wissenschaft (Keeping the Lobau alive: water for the floodplain – scientific findings and perspectives) will be held at the Natural History Museum (NHM) Vienna. The symposium is dedicated to the Lobau as one of the last large contiguous floodplain areas in Central Europe. It will focus on the area’s ecological significance, efforts to preserve its biodiversity and the current state of research.
This two-day scientific symposium is jointly organised by Flora Austria - Verein zur Erforschung der Flora Österreichs, Forum Wissenschaft & Umwelt, Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft Donauforschung (IAD), Lobaumuseum – Verein für Umweltgeschichte, Natural History Museum Vienna, Österreichisches Komitee Donauforschung (ÖK-IAD) and Zoologisch-Botanische Gesellschaft Österreichs. The agenda features speakers from Austria and other European countries who will share current data and findings on the status-quo of the Lobau, addressing various aspects of biology, ecology and hydrology, but also issues concerning area management and visitor guidance. One of the objectives is to highlight possible ways out of the current crisis. For, researchers have indeed come up with possible solutions to overcome challenges such as land-use conflicts and an insufficient water supply, showing management options that can keep the Lobau alive.

Declared an official urban green belt to enhance the well-being of its population in 1905, Vienna’s belt of forests and meadows has been the city’s pride ever since. An important component of this green belt is the Lobau – a former floodplain that is as quintessentially part of Vienna as St. Stephen's Cathedral. One of the last large contiguous floodplains in Central Europe and a biodiversity hotspot of European significance, the Lobau became part of the Donauauen National Park in 1996. It is one of very few national park areas worldwide to be situated within the perimeter of a major city. The protection and preservation of this precious asset are of particular national and international importance – particularly so in times of an impending climate disaster and the alarming loss of biodiversity. On the other hand, nature conservation interests collide with the needs of a city that has almost two million inhabitants, as well as with the intensively cultivated agricultural areas around Vienna.

“The Lobau is of particular ecological significance. One of its main characteristics is the exceptional biodiversity that benefits from the extensive aquatic habitats and their shorelines. However, this natural gem is greatly endangered by various influences – most of all, the persistent water shortage,” says Dr Katrin Vohland, Director General of the NHM Vienna.
The ecological value is rapidly diminishing. Emergency measures are urgently needed to salvage whatever possible and perhaps even restore what has been lost. Stepping up the floodplain’s water supply is the order of the day.

The participants at the scientific symposium will discuss the environmental history, the current environmental situation and future efforts to preserve the protected area, and they will highlight deficits and opportunities. On the first evening, Prof. Bernd Lötsch will give a public presentation on the Lobau and its various aspects in the lecture hall of the NHM Vienna.

The event is designed as a successor to the symposium Lobau soll sterben (Lobau shall die), organised 50 years ago based on similar concerns in the Auditorium Maximum of the University of Vienna in early 1973.

Symposium (in German language):
"Lobau soll leben: Wasser für die Au – Erkenntnisse und Perspektiven der Wissenschaft"

27 April 2022, 14:00 - 20:00
28 April 2022, 09:30 - 18:30

Natural History Museum Vienna, lecture hall

To register for the symposium please send an email to:

Links to the event and detailed programme:

(c) Kurt Kracher
(c) Kurt Kracher
(c) Kurt Kracher