Project details

Strategies for a sustainable economy in biosphere reserves

Within the framework of the ‘Man and Biosphere’ (MAB) UNESCO programme, biosphere reserves are model regions in which sustainable development is intended to be researched on, tested and realised. Since the establishment of biosphere reserves nature conservation and the maintenance of cultural landscapes had been the focal points. These objectives were extended by sustainable economy as another main focus at the MAB conferences of Sevilla (1995) and Pamplona (2000).

The R&D project ‘Strategies for a sustainable economy in biosphere reserves’ is aiming at the development and implementation of suitable strategies which can serve as the basis of measures implemented by members of the biosphere reserve management as well as other regional actors. They are intended to provide a standard for sustainable economy in biosphere reserves and in the regions included.

The research project which is running over a period of two years comprises a preliminary phase for the analysis of the socio-economic situation of biosphere reserves in Germany as well as for the development of strategy approaches. During the following main phase these model strategies will be trial-tested and the first projects will be initiated and promoted in two or three biosphere reserves.

During the preliminary phase one emphasis is on a socio-economic regional analysis of the biosphere reserves. The development in these areas will be examined against the background of the developments at federal state and national level and comparisons will be made with surrounding regions as well as between biosphere reserves. Based on this, profiles of strengths and weaknesses related to the individual biosphere reserves will be derived. Another emphasis is on the institutional embeddedness and linkages of biosphere management to the regional environment, especially concerning economic issues.

Results will be used to support an analysis of potentials which is intended to provide the point of departure for strategy proposals regarding the promotion of a sustainable economy in biosphere reserves. This will be the basis for the implementation of model strategies during the main phase.

Project no.: 



Research | Large protected areas and cultural landscape |


Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


2005 - 2008

Contact person/s at IfLS: 

Dr. Ulrich Gehrlein