Three floristic regions predominate on the Austrian territory, in relation to climatic conditions. That of central Europe, on the Danubian and pre-Alpine regions, reaching with the woody formation of coniferous trees up to m. 1000 on the sea. The fir trees rise up to m. 1350 on the slopes of Šumava and cover the less fertile areas of the diluvial terraces of Upper and Lower Austria, relics of a primitive wood cover. The same wooded formation cloaks the alpine valley flanks, where it represents a first-rate economic value, extending on average up to 750 m. under the limit of perpetual snows; on the Ötz Alps and in the Hohe Tauern it goes up to m. 2100 and 2300 sm, in the northern limestone Alps up to m. 1900, in the Low Tauern at m. 1800, in the Stirian Alps at m. 1500-1600,
Cereals predominate among the cultivated plants of this floristic region: corn and wheat in the best soils of Upper and Lower Austria and on the Styrian Hills; wheat, barley and rye on the Šumava terraces and within the Alpine valleys, where the upper limit rises on average to m. 1500 only; cultivation is therefore restricted to the valley floor, which is serious damage for an essentially alpine state like Austria. Fields of rye and barley reach m. 1425 in the Stubai, 1375 in the High Tauern, 1150 in the Low Tauern, around 1000 m. on the easternmost Alpine foothills and around 900 m. in the Austrian limestone Prealps, while everywhere wheat remains much lower. The cultivation of beet is quite extensive in the subalpine highlands, together with that of potatoes, the latter reach very high up within the mountainous regions. Among the fruit trees, besides the apple tree, cherry and walnut are frequent.
According to topschoolsintheusa, the alpine floristic region, in the herbaceous formation of the mountain pasture, is relatively extensive here, being typical of all the high mountain ridges, above the treeline, especially on the schist and crystalline soils of the median Alps where the pastures reach up to 3100 m. in the Stubai; while it is scarcer on the limestone and dolomitic peripheral chains with prevalent vertical bare walls and extensive rubble, with a limit around m. 2400 in the Northern Limestone Alps. The Pannonian flora, with oaks, chestnuts, pines and xerophytic crspuglive formations, is found in a narrow strip in the low-rainfall area of the eastern subalpine hilly region: in the Windische Bühel, on the Styrian Hills up to Graz, in the western reliefs of Burgenland, on the eastern slopes of the Vienna Woods and the Leitha Mountains. However, it does not go beyond 400 m. tall; it therefore becomes less and less rich and merges with the coniferous forest. It is in this Pannonian region that the cultivation of vines spreads, whose northern limits surpass the Viennese Woods (350 meters above sea level).
Examples of Pannonian flora are also found in some short alpine intravallive areas with low rainfall, such as north of Innsbruck, in Carinthia, in the Gail valley and in the Klagenfurt basin; but they do not give rise to real formations.
As far as the natural fauna is concerned, endemic species do not live on the Austrian territory, but the fauna typical of middle Europe, which is retreating on the mountain ridges, in the face of domestic animals imported by man. There is now a shortage of marmots and ibex, already numerous on the Karawanken, in Carinthia, on the Tennen Gebirge, in Salzburg; while chamois, eagles, mountain roosters, ptarmigans and, exceptionally, some bears can still be found towards the high peaks of western Tyrol.
Natural divisions. – Apart from the smaller valley units, typical of an Alpine country like Austria, and from the historical ones created over the centuries, due to the altimetric, climatic and floristic conditions, three more complex natural regions can be distinguished in the Austrian territory, whose influence on the distribution and way of life of the residents is evident.
- A Danube region, comprising the crystalline slopes of Šumava and the submontane Eocene plateau, to the right of the Danube, with uniform and abundant rainfall, not very cold winters, extensive areas covered by fields (43.4%) and from woods (35.2%), and minimal unproductive areas (5.9%).
- A western alpine region, where large median crystalline massifs and peripheral limestones predominate, with extensive unproductive areas (19.8%), with high and isolated valleys, with prolonged winters and short summers, with less abundant rainfall in the interior, with a prevalence of pastures (42.2%) on woods (47.0%) and on crops (73,%), with a sparse population, dedicated to breeding.
- A less elevated eastern alpine region, with internal crystalline soils and peripheral Paleozoic soils, with extensive mining areas, with large intravallive basins, which easily communicate with each other, with a more continental climate, rigid winters and hot summers, less rainfall, few pastures (17.7%) and few cultivated areas (17.8%), but rich woods (51.9%) and few unproductive areas (8.3%); with a large agricultural population on the edge of the Alpine foothills, and dedicated to exploiting the mines and woods in the internal basins.