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Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services as scientific foundation for the sustainable imple­men­tation of the Redesigned Biosphere Reserve “Neusiedler See” [BIOSERV]

Runtime: 2008 - 2012
Funding: ÖAW
external link: http://epub.oeaw.ac.at/0xc1aa500d_0x002af7aa.pdf

Summary

BIOSERV is setting a scientifically sound baseline for sustainable development of the region BR Neusiedler See and aims at displaying dynamic processes and their desired direction as well as providing recommendations for a redesigned BR Neusiedler See following the Seville strategy. This has been achieved by using the scientific concept of “ecosystem goods and services” for identifying, measuring and communicating the ecological, socio-cultural and economic values of the proposedly enlarged Biosphere reserve.

Description

The biosphere reserve “Neusiedler See” was founded in 1977 and its delineation is reflecting the ideas of the MaB-programme of the 1970s. So currently it covers only the lake basin in particular the reed belt and the lake itself. This rather restrictive designation is excluding large tracts of land with smaller remnants of natural and semi-natural habitats interspersed with the surrounding agricultural landscape matrix.
While the objective for achieving a sustainable balance between the sometimes conflicting goals of biosphere reserves is still the same, the context in which biosphere reserves operate has changed considerably. In 1991 the Convention on Biological Diversity has lead to establish an Advisory Committee for biosphere reserves which developed a strategy for a modern kind of biosphere reserves (“Seville Strategy”). This broaden strategy tries to contribute to those changed frameworks by including basic ecological and socio-economic assessments for zoning and defining conservation, reinforcing scientific research and initiating development tasks. Besides the foundation of the biosphere reserve in 1977, substantial progress in conservation efforts has been achieved by the designation of a RAMSAR site (1982) and the establishment of Austria’s first national park (1992). Both conservation areas are much larger than the biosphere reserve and complementing each other in area and management objectives. In addition, a large area of the whole region – including the western lakeshore and its surroundings – has been officially listed by UNESCO as world heritage site for cultural landscape in 2001.
The feasibility of transforming the first generation biosphere reserve Neusiedler See into a modern one which is compatible with the Seville Strategy was investigated in an forrunner research project (“Redesigning the biosphere reserve Neusiedler See”), conducted by the same interdisciplinary team. In this two years project the possibilities of re-defining and re-designing the biosphere reserve were studied in a transdisciplinary manner based on a SWOT analysis of the current situation in the “greater Neusiedler See region” from a socio-economical and conservation biological perspective.
The BIOSERV-project is setting a scientifically sound baseline for sustainable development of the region BR Neusiedler See and aims at displaying dynamic processes and their desired direction as well as providing recommendations for a redesigned BR Neusiedler See following the Seville strategy. This has been achieved by using the scientific concept of “ecosystem goods and services” for identifying, measuring and communicating the ecological, socio-cultural and economic values of the proposedly enlarged Biosphere reserve. In the final results mainly realistic and politically agreed planning options for enlargement and redesignation of the biosphere reserve Neusiedler See were developed. As that project was designed to give a scientific basis to the decision makers to make up their mind, whether they would like to proceed with a state-of-the-art biosphere reserve, only a quick assessment procedure based on available geo-data and expert consultations was conducted.

Partners

  • BOKU-ILEN University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna, Department of Landscape, Spatial and Infrastructure Sciences, Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning (AT)
  • University of Western Hungary, Institute of Forest Resource Management and Rural Development (HU)
  • Landscape Atelier GmbH (HU)

Contact

Thomas Wrbka (thomas.wrbka@univie.ac.at)





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