Nature, its state or its absence, its perception, its use - and abuse - are the central topics of the FORUM ALPINUM 2002. The symposium will discuss the actual state of nature in the Alps from different perspectives, it will establish areas of future research and missing links where concerted actions and political interventions are needed. Since the EU is - together with the eight Alpine countries - signatory of the Alpine Convention, it is essential to elaborate a common understanding about the focal points of action both for science and national and EU policies.
The fifth FORUMALPINUM, after Disentis (CH, 1994), Chamonix (F, 1996), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (D, 1998) and Bergamo und Castione della Presolana (I, 2000) was held in Alpbach (A) from 23 to 27 September 2002 under the general issue of The Nature of the Alps. It encompassed not only a scientific description of the actual state of the natural environment but also of our perception and the use of nature, and of natural protection. The participants have outlined perspectives for Alpine research, based on scientific expertise but also in a discussion with end users and stakeholders.
So Alpbach became a meeting place for natural, cultural and social scientists with artists, theologians, managers, politicians and everybody who feels committed to the future of the Alps. We also listened to the local people, to school classes, to project leaders, and we offered them a forum for the exchange of ideas, results and concepts. It was, therefore, natural to include some practical aspects, such as water and wine sampling, and excursions, but also a concert, a performance and an art exhibition, all related with the central theme of the FORUMALPINUM 2002. The concept of the meeting does reflect the transdisciplinary character of nature: plenary lectures, fora, workshops, poster sessions, theater of school children, concert, exhibition etc.