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









ISBN 978-3-7001-7289-5
Online Edition
doi:10.1553/bioserv-neusiedler-see

2012  182 Seiten, zahlreiche Farb-Abb.,
Open access

The biosphere reserve “Neusiedler See” was founded in 1977, three years after the concept of biosphere reserves was initiated by a Task Force of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MaB) Programme in 1974. 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. The small-scale cultural landscape types situated at the western lakeshore are completely excluded. This delineation is reflecting the ideas of the MaB-programme in the concept of the 1970s. But it is not congruent with the criteria of the Seville Strategy as outlined in 1995. Many other biosphere reserves in the world encounter similar problems, so that the MaB committee decided to withdraw the label of biosphere reserve by 2013 if a re-implementation will not have been applied for.
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. This Advisory Board developed a strategy for a modern kind of biosphere reserves and drew up the so called “Seville Strategy”. This broaden strategy tries to contribute to those changed frameworks. This means to include basic ecological and socio-economic assessments for zoning and defining conservation, reinforce scientific research and initiate development tasks (UNESCO, 1996).
Besides the foundation of the biosphere reserve in 1977, substantial progress in conservation efforts has been achieved by the designation of a RAMSAR site in 1982 and the successful establishment of Austria’s first national park in 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. 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.

Universität Wien, Faculty of Life Science, Department for Nature Conservation, Vegetation- and Landscape Ecology

in cooperation with

Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning

University of Sopron, Institute of Forest Resource Management and Rural Development

Gefördert durch das „Man and Biosphere Programm“ der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Austrian Academy of Sciences Press
A-1011 Wien, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
Tel. +43-1-515 81/DW 3402-3406, +43-1-512 9050, Fax +43-1-515 81/DW 3400
http://verlag.oeaw.ac.at, e-mail: verlag@oeaw.ac.at

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



ISBN 978-3-7001-7289-5
Online Edition


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









ISBN 978-3-7001-7289-5
Online Edition
doi:10.1553/bioserv-neusiedler-see

2012  182 Seiten, zahlreiche Farb-Abb.,
Open access

The biosphere reserve “Neusiedler See” was founded in 1977, three years after the concept of biosphere reserves was initiated by a Task Force of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MaB) Programme in 1974. 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. The small-scale cultural landscape types situated at the western lakeshore are completely excluded. This delineation is reflecting the ideas of the MaB-programme in the concept of the 1970s. But it is not congruent with the criteria of the Seville Strategy as outlined in 1995. Many other biosphere reserves in the world encounter similar problems, so that the MaB committee decided to withdraw the label of biosphere reserve by 2013 if a re-implementation will not have been applied for.
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. This Advisory Board developed a strategy for a modern kind of biosphere reserves and drew up the so called “Seville Strategy”. This broaden strategy tries to contribute to those changed frameworks. This means to include basic ecological and socio-economic assessments for zoning and defining conservation, reinforce scientific research and initiate development tasks (UNESCO, 1996).
Besides the foundation of the biosphere reserve in 1977, substantial progress in conservation efforts has been achieved by the designation of a RAMSAR site in 1982 and the successful establishment of Austria’s first national park in 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. 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.

Universität Wien, Faculty of Life Science, Department for Nature Conservation, Vegetation- and Landscape Ecology

in cooperation with

Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning

University of Sopron, Institute of Forest Resource Management and Rural Development

Gefördert durch das „Man and Biosphere Programm“ der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften



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Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Austrian Academy of Sciences Press
A-1011 Wien, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
Tel. +43-1-515 81/DW 3402-3406, +43-1-512 9050, Fax +43-1-515 81/DW 3400
http://verlag.oeaw.ac.at, e-mail: verlag@oeaw.ac.at