The snow trickles quietly in front of the forestry office in Glein near Knittelfeld in Styrian Mur Valley. In front of the window frames painted in dark turquoise, curtains that are more reminiscent of an African safari than the Austrian forest convey an exotic flair with images of giraffes, zebras and elephants on linen. Lying on the window sill is a watch for fly fishing and solid wood is everywhere. People here live with this product of the forestry business.

The private property that has been in the hands of the Hatschek family since the 1930s spans 2,300 hectares. Today, Klemens is at the helm: “Sadly, I don’t spend much time in the forest nowadays. I take care of classic management tasks if you will. But that’s okay. We trust our employees. They are really great and leave behind fantastic footprints in the forest.”

In good times and in bad times

The forestry business is pretty busy all year round. Most of the felling is done in autumn and winter, May and autumn are the times for afforestation and the rest of the year there is a lot of work to do in terms of forest hygiene. In idyllic Glein, above which towers the 2,000-metre-high Speikkogel, the most common tree is spruce, along with larch and fir, because these are used as deep-roots to keep the soil stable and, above all, to ensure that the forest remains in place in the event of catastrophes. “A tree needs 120 years to grow. This is a cycle that may be strange for outsiders, but sustainability is more than just a word in forestry, but has been actively implemented for generations,” says Klemens Hatschek. The relationship with Pabst Timber has also grown over the years – it’s like a marriage. Partners stick together. In good times and in bad times. This is how Hatschek became a regular supplier.

Klemens Hatschek
Klemens Hatschek

Special timber from the Mur Valley.

The growth area is just as important as the proximity to the sawmill and low transport costs. “The wood here is delicately grown and has healthy branches. This plays an important role in further processing. The more delicate the wood, the better the quality,” says Round Timber Buyer Walter Hyden. Every year, Hatschek supplies 5,000 solid cubic metres of it to the Styrian sawmill.

Swapping city for countryside

His family originally being from Lower Austria, Klemens Hatschek grew up in Vienna but when the position became available in Styria, he abandoned his tax counselling business in the big city and swapped for a wooden forestry house including countryside serenity. “My wife was very happy to leave the city. She was born in Graz,” Hatschek – a father of four – tells us. “They go to school in Seckau.” Asked whether his children think it’s ‘cool’ to run a forestry business at home, he answers with a laugh: “They think it’s ‘alright’ but they never come to me asking when we can go into the forest to see our most beautiful fir trees.”


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