It has snowed during the night and all of Obdach is slumbering under a white blanket. Thankfully, Head Forester Robert Scheiber’s car is proven. The forester himself knows the roads and paths in his district like the back of his hand.

No matter whether it is covered in snow, experiencing a muddy spring or leads a dry life in the mountain summer at Zirbitzkogel. 12,000 cubic metres of wood per year are brought down to the valley for further processing, after it has been harvested by various machines and many hard-working hands and taken out of the forest. “Our district is comprised of 10 percent pine forest, 20 percent larch and the rest that grows here is spruce,” he explains the stock. Both for the forest and for sawmills, spruce is regarded as a ‘bread tree’.

Wald Obdach
Wald Obdach

More than 1,500 metres above sea level

Everything is still foggy and the visibility is not particularly good, but the fog is slowly clearing and the first rays of sun are already breaking through the cloud cover. We are more than 1,500 metres above sea level. An altitude that is particularly good for high-quality wood, because the individual trees grow more slowly. “Everything here is a cultural landscape, even in the national parks, a real natural forest would only develop again in a few hundred years. But why not manage the forest in a natural way and thus use it sustainably?” the forester explains. Of course, afforestation is carried out here and the forest is thus preserved for future generations. This is also required by our strict forestry law.  Speaking of generations, Scheiber’s father was also already working the forest, so he practically inherited this job.

Scheiber Robert Förster Admont

You can't compare it to a normal job where you spend eight hours at work and then go home.

Forestry as a calling

Even today, his job is more a vocation than an occupation. “You can’t compare it to a normal job where you go home after eight hours.” In the summer, I often patrol my district for 14 hours. And there are varied activities throughout the year. By the way, winter is the best time to harvest, because then the wood is less likely to develop sapstain. Even 20 to 30 centimetres of snow are not an issue. There’s plenty of game in the forest: Red deer, roe deer, chamois, as well as black grouse and capercaillie all find their habitat here. Four hunting districts lie in this area above Obdach, which is still in Styria, but from which one also has good views into Carinthia. How does one land such a dream job? “There is lots of interest among the youth even today. The Forestry School in Bruck an der Mur offers varied education in this field. But there are less and less positions for district managers.”

Admont Monastery Timber Industries

The forest districts of Obdach and Lavant Valley overseen by Robert Scheiber belong to Trieben’s forest administration. The latter is one of two forest administrations belonging to the Benedictine Monastery of Admont which is actually located in the Enns Valley. Knowledge that has grown over centuries and sustainable thinking are the cornerstones of the Styrian company to this day.

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