“Helvetia Protective Forests Prize”

Hier gehts zur deutschen Version

The “Helvetia Protective Forests Prize” honours the very best projects concerning protective forests.

Since 2006, through this prize the Alpine Forest Association has been honouring exemplary projects for the preservation and improvement of protective forests in the Alpine region and raising awareness of the issue in the public consciousness.

The projects are judged according to their originality, creativity, exemplary nature, and the involvement and participation of different groups.

The international insurance firm Helvetia have been supporting the Protective Forests Prize as main sponsor since Autumn 2014.

A message from our sponsors, Helvetia

Here is an interview with Helvetia’s CEO, Dr. Philipp Gmür, explaining why his insurance company generously sponsors ARGE Alpenländischer Forstvereine and its annual Schutzwald Award.

Jury Members

Monika Frehner

Lecturer of Mountain Forest Management at ETH Zurich, self-employed forest engineer, former cantonal spokesperson for St. Gallen, former member of the Swiss Platform for Natural Hazards

Hermann Kuenz

Tyrolean fruit grower & schnapps distiller, Member of the Regional Parliament, Chairman of the Committee for Agriculture & Forestry and Transport & Environment

Arnold Hirschbühel

Vorarlberg farmer and former mayor, long-time chairman of the local hunting cooperative as well as the Vorarlberg Forest Association

Florin Florineth

Emeritus Professor at the Institute for Engineering Biology and Landscape Construction, former employee and pioneer of the South Tyrolean wild streams control

Monika Arzberger

Head of the koiné agency for administrative dialogues and conflict resolution; developer of the Mountain Forest Manager course

Prize ceremony

The winners of the “Helvetia Protective Forests Prize” are unveiled each year at the end of January.

The winner of each category receives a wooden sculpture designed by Tyrolean artist Helmut Mayr from Mutters, near Innsbruck. The sculpture symbolises the mountain forests, using various types of wood typically found in Alpine areas.


Projects can be submitted in the following three categories:

School and Youth Projects

Do you work in a kindergarten, school or other children’s institution and have a lot to do with the forest? Particularly worthy of recognition in this category are forest education projects or learning projects that deal with mountain forests and are supported by children or young people.

Public Outreach, Protective Forest Partners, Innovation

Commitment to mountain forests pays off! Particularly valued here are products, exhibitions, events, networks and campaigns that deal with the theme of protective forests and contribute to raising awareness of the issue. Protective Forest Partners are communities and institutions outside the forestry administration that positively support protective forests through financial support and/or targeted activities. Also considered here are innovative scientific or research projects, new technological developments and innovative marketing for the betterment of protective forests

Successful Projects

For years or even decades, committed protective forest owners have been striving to regenerate a protective forest, sometimes over generations. Over years of exemplary and successful measures for protective forest rehabilitation, improvement of reforestation and management of mountain forests, they have brought added value to their region, and deserve widespread recognition.

The following special awards are given by the jury or organiser

Special Jury Prize

Some forest-related projects do not fit well into a specific category, but their implementation has brought about great regional impact. Such an exceptional project can therefore be awarded the special prize by our international jury.

Protective Forest Patron

This is the place where personal forest-related lifetime achievements are honoured. The organising national association nominates three individuals who have rendered outstanding services to the protective forest cause. For this category, it is not the jury but the presidents and directors of all member associations who jointly determine the award winner.

Media Prize

The press and other media make significant contributions to the transfer of knowledge and are therefore an important part of our public relations work. For this reason, a publication or press article related to protective forests can also be awarded. The member associations can submit publications – written in German, though not necessarily published in their own country. 

Terms of Participation

Participation is open to individuals, schools, institutions, associations, businesses and municipalities from all Alpine countries. The projects submitted should be directly related to mountain forests and should have already been implemented to a significant extent. Submissions must be written in German. All projects will be notified in writing. The nominated project participants are invited to attend the award ceremony. The nominated children’s and youth groups must be present at the award ceremony.

Applications are to be submitted digitally via the local forest associations and must include the following documents:

– Fully completed submission forms
– Summary of the project (max. 5 lines)
– Detailed description of the project (max. two A4 pages)
– Photographic documentation (at least 10 high-resolution digital photos)
– Supporting documents such as sketches, plans, models etc, where relevant