Integrating conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity : Four Examples of Ecosystem Management Areas in Germany and Sweden

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Institutionen för livsvetenskaper


The loss of biodiversity is recognised as a tremendous threat to ecosystems, but its maintenance is challenging. One important issue is seen as decisive for its success: the integration of sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity that means to reconcile protective measures with different kinds of use. This study investigated management areas that explicitly emphasise this issue: UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) Reserves that shall contribute to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use and an initiative from the Swedish government called Regional Landscape Strategies that aims to find a balance between sustainable use and conservation on a landscape level. In three MAB Reserves in Germany and one Swedish county testing Regional Landscape Strategies semi-structured interviews were conducted. They aimed to detect the values and factors steering the decisions of biodiversity management and conservation as well as to identify obstacles for sustainable use, conservation and their integration in general. The interviews reveal that the connected terms and concepts can be interpreted in different ways and this exacerbates the work. Furthermore, the study detects some issues that can facilitate the integration of sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity in the respective areas and discussed their applicability on a larger scale. Examples are the establishment of a kind of forum involving local affected stakeholders and the creation of a connection point mediating the different sectors within the administration. These aspects could help to design the management of biodiversity more sustainable if they would be part of the mainstream management practises. Regarding the state of biodiversity that shall be achieved or maintained it can be mentioned that different factors and values steer the decisions; intrinsic values are underlying, but further issues seem crucial: practicability of the respective land use, aesthetic values, a high resilience of the system as well as the near-natural states.

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