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What tasks can nature parks and biosphere reserves take on in the dialogue and balancing of interests in the forest?

In the constituent meeting of the NaBioKom project's working group (PAG) on 26.1.2023, the project team informed the PAG members about the project. The subsequent discussion focused on important topics and possible tasks that nature parks and biosphere reserves can take on in the dialogue between regional actors in the forest.

The NaBioKom-Projekt is led by the Institute for Rural Development Research (Institut für Ländliche Strukturforschung e.V., IfLS) and is funded by Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (Agency for Renewable Resources) with funds from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Together with team ewen, the project partner for communication and mediation, and the four practice partners, dialogue processes are implemented in the real laboratories. These are located in the densely forested low mountain ranges: Kellerwald-Edersee Nature Park, Bergstrasse-Odenwald Geo-Nature Park and the Rhön and Thuringian Forest Biosphere Reserves. The Project Advisory Working Group (PAG) with representatives from associations, administrations, interest groups and research in forestry and nature conservation accompanies the project team in an advisory capacity.

In the first PAG meeting it became clear that in nature parks and biosphere reserves a constructive dialogue and good cooperation with different actors in the forest can be established. Often there are no direct conflicts or differences of interest in the regions.
-or differences of interest in the regions. However, it is important to expand the dialogue on concrete topics and occasions, how to jointly meet challenges, e.g. due to climate change, and how to develop solutions for a near-natural and multifunctional forest use.

According to the initial assessment of the PAG members, nature parks and biosphere reserves can take on tasks in information, education and networking as well as a platform for dialogue. The mediator or moderator role will of course depend on the neutral stance of the institutions and how this is perceived from inside and outside. The conditions for this can be actively shaped in the dialogue processes in the real labs. The PAG members emphasised that voluntary actors and private forest owners should also be better involved in the processes.

Contact persons at IfLS: Marie Sophie Schmidt (schmidt[at]; Ulrich Gehrlein (gehrlein[at]