The Protected Areas group at the IGF is concerned with socially relevant research issues on protected mountain areas like nature parks and biosphere reserves. We also support exchange between scientists and networking between the management of protected areas in the Alps and the scientists working therein.

The group publishes the journal eco.mont, which is listed in the ISI Web of Science. It was developed following an initiative by the Network of Alpine Protected Areas (ALPARC), ISCAR (International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps), the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the University of Innsbruck. eco.mont appeals to scientists from a variety of disciplines, to the administration of protected areas and to other interested groups, practitioners, visitors and teachers. The ISCAR Working Group Protected Areas (ISCAR-P), which is led by the IGF group Protected Areas and is part of the editorial board of eco.mont, develops and supports networking with universities and protected areas in the Alps. Through ISCAR-P the IGF group participates in the annual ISCAR meetings. ISCAR has the support of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences , irstea, the Université Grenoble Alpes and the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri - Dipartimento per gli Affari Regionali e le Autonomie.

The IGF Protected Areas group is also represented in the MAB National Committee of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program. The National Committee monitors and analyses the Austrian research scene and identifies research needs. It also advises and supports the people in charge of biosphere reserves and links the Austrian part of the program with the MAB Secretariat in Paris. It is in charge of biosphere applications to UNESCO and of controlling compliance with the UNESCO specifications.