Warth / Österreich
"The preservation of natural resources is a major concern for us. We draw the circles wide: for example, the preservation of local biodiversity in the hotel environment is just as important to us as our contribution to global climate protection!"
- Johann Weiss, Executive Manager
The Steinschaler Naturhotels have a very special way of operating: They cultivate intensive natural gardens that are used to cater for their guests. They also actively communicate nature. Their goal is to preserve, use and communicate nature. This results in a seasonal and more sustainable way of life.
Description of measures
A green roof was created. Ponds were revitalised, i.e. also taken out of fish farming and newly created with many structures and niches (14 in total). Information was placed in the house and a Wikipedia was created. The rainwater from the roofs flows into 2 large biotopes. Garden and "distance greenery" is treated completely without chemicals. The Naturhotels are certified organic and can be described as a "hard core" natural garden - more than 2 ha are planted with regional plants. Some of the gravel comes from their own quarry on the site, and the dry stone walls are sourced regionally. For more information on the promotion of biodiversity - from insects to mammals (beavers, birds, etc.) - or on the topic of water retention, see the Steinschaler Wiki.
Positive results of measures
Beavers, various songbirds, muskrats, slow worms, water snakes, pigeon tails, field wasps and many other animals now have a home on the premises of the nature hotels.
Motivation and goals
From the beginning, the owners wanted to honour their origins - they originate from organic farmers and even received the state award for sustainability (hotel category). What motivated them was the communication of "suitability for grandchildren".
Characteristics of the area
There are many biotopes such as woodpiles, dry stone walls, bushes, etc., in short a lot of structure. In addition, there is a lot of wild fruit, some meadow orchards, lots of wild herbs, also as harvest land, ponds (with beavers), natural streams, flower meadows, and much more. The climate is "almost mild" - altitude 350 m. Ponds have mostly developed from the former arms of the Pielach (river), which have been re-opened. Special promotion is given to the regional branded wild fruit Dirndl (Cornus mas). An extremely high focus is on biodiversity: the goal is to maintain and improve the existing biodiversity.
One person and up to 5 part-time workers in the season, high labour reduction due to the natural garden principle.
Costs for design and maintenance
The costs of the last 25 years are not known. There was a partial amortisation through the garden yield (the harvest) and guided tours, but this does not cover 100%. It is a mixed calculation of the components a) own (inner) satisfaction and b) benefit for the nature-based brand of the hotel. The care is provided by the management.