About ÖON (English)
By Dieter Armerding
Höflein a.d. Donau, February 8, 2009 -
There are still about 62 species of orchids in Austria. They are better indicators of the ecological quality of meadow and forest habitats than many other plant species. They point to the occurrence of many endangered species on the ‚Red List’, which is why they are eminently suitable for judging the importance of such areas for environment and species protection. The Austrian Orchid Network (ÖON), founded in 2006, has taken on the task of monitoring the population dynamics of all Austrian orchids, as representative of other endangered animal and plant species. The ÖON thus complies with the demands of the European Union for more environmental protection in Europe- a duty that should really be fulfilled by the Austrian government. This has only managed to place the Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium calceous) and the Fen Orchid (Liparis loeselli) on the EU list (Natura 2000) of species that deserve special protection, and whose population development should be kept under close observation. Other plant groups are also under-represented in the Red List, and the fulfillment of the requirements of the Natura 2000 FFH guidelines is taking too long. The ÖON monitoring project could thus be regarded as a significant contribution to the containment of loss of biodiversity in Austria.
The first Austrian Native Orchid Confererence in 2007 had the following goals:
to emphasize the importance of this plant family for the evaluation of sustainable forest and meadows management,
- to provide current scientific information about the complex biology of orchids,
to demand increased protection of orchid habitats, and to define means for their effective care.
Long term activities of the ÖON encompass:
Help with the realization of the Natura 2000 FFH guidelines. Thus the ÖON should be supported by the Austrian government in every way. For instance, the ÖON cares for more than 150 orchid habitats in Lower Austria, including those within the city of Vienna boundaries and the Vienna Woods, as well as helping with the Life 2000 Bisamberg Habitat Management project, all without financial support;
co-operation with native orchid groups in Germany, and other NGOs with similar goals in other parts of Europe;
supporting the global efforts for maintaining boidiversity, especially the IUCN project ‚Countdown 2010’. The ÖON has signed the IUCN declaration to stop the extinction of species.
To remind all orchid fans that we only care for 62 of a total of 25000-30000 species worldwide, which are also equally endangered, we have included some pictures of orchids from Columbia and Australia- a demonstration of the incredible beauty of this natural heritage.