SUSANNE STOLL-KLEEMANN, BARBARA THIERFELDER, MONIKA BERTZKY, AUGUSTIN BERGHÖFER
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences (IWSL), GoBi Research Group, Germany
Losses in biodiversity are becoming alarming: currently about 50 known species per day are irreversibly lost. Especially from a global perspective nature conservation should be a goal in its own right. This means placing priority on the protection of species and habitats. However, scientists, managers and local people are debating intensively on how to combine biodiversity conservation with the need for local development. The latter is becoming increasingly critical as most Biodiversity Hotspots are located in Third World countries.
An innovative approach to biodiversity management are Biosphere Reserves which comprise a strategy to reconcile conservation objectives with the sustainable use of natural resources. In that way they aim to be experimental places for integrated conservation efforts, and vanguards for sustainable development. The conservation success of Biosphere Reserves and other protected areas depends on the appropriateness of their management systems to the locally specific situation as well as on governance issues, i.e. the political and administrative system, resource-use patterns and participation of local people. In practice many Biosphere Reserves lack capacity and resources to meet their global mandate.
Our interdisciplinary research group examines the effectiveness of management and governance approaches in achieving integrated conservation and development objectives, combining ecological and socio-economic concepts and methods in an adaptive manner. Using a broad range of qualitative and quantitative research methods we develop and test a set of criteria and indicators to identify how particular factors influence success or failure of management and conservation in Biosphere Reserves. The co-evolution of the management success model and the conservation success model will allow the development of a comprehensive analytical tool for determining the success or failure of Biosphere Reserves. In addition, the broad empirical results will justify a series of recommendations for more effective approaches to nature conservation.
Keywords: Biodiversity conservation, Biosphere reserves, governance, Integrated development approaches, interdisciplinary research, management