Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Integrating conservation and use at the regional level E 3.9


to achieve this difficult task most effectively, and at

what level.

A global biosphere policy based on the regulatory

approach, which aims at implementing objectives in

the region exclusively through state measures,

quickly realizes its limitations, as the above extreme

cases show, and is described in more detail in Section

I 2.A successful approach should therefore also seize

the opportunity that the motivation approach (Section

I 2.4) has to offer for application at the regional

level. In this process, it is much less a matter of

regional implementation of the rigid objectives of a

central governing body than – applying the subsidiarity

principle – allowing a variety of institutional

approaches and regional experiments so as to organize

a process of enquiry, which can better integrate

the diverging ideas of the individual actors from the


If the intention is to link the protection of landscapes

and ecosystems with sustainable use, then a

concept is needed that also does justice to the complexity

of the various local requirements for conservation

and use. In the process, the various ecosystem

types and land use forms cannot be viewed separately

from each other because they are linked via

interactions, impinge upon each other or even overlap.

In view of the global diversity of the ecosystems

and forms of use, the specific design of such an

approach obviously has to be adapted to the local

conditions.This applies not only to the natural factors

(terrain, soils, climate, etc) but also to the social conditions

(culture, settlement density, structure of state

institutions, etc). Mutually contradictory conservation

and use demands lead to conflicts that make the

protection and the sustainable use of the biosphere

much more difficult.

The relationship to existing planning is of particular

importance: the approach with its principles

and instruments should help to incorporate the perspective

of integrating conservation and sustainable

use of the biosphere into spatial planning. In this context,

on the one hand the area must be large enough

to be able to implement effective measures for

ecosystem protection and, on the other hand, small

enough to develop locally adapted concepts that do

equal justice to the ecological, economic and social

framework conditions locally.

Another important spatial criterion results from

the fundamental considerations of biosphere policy

(Section I 2): the spatial equivalency principle. The

greater the spatial separation between the benefits

and costs of biosphere conservation, the more difficult

it will be to reach a consensus. Therefore, the

level that should be chosen for political action should

be the one that is best suited to balance the beneficiaries

with the bearers of the cost. This does not

always have to be the global level: the regional level

discussed here can also offer an interesting approach

– in line with the subsidiarity principle.

The task of central importance is therefore the following:

in the use of biological resources there must

also be a comparison of the three components of sustainability

(economic, ecological and social component).

In rural areas, it is of prime importance to consider

the different needs of intensive agriculture and

forestry, the conservation of natural ecosystems and

the interests of the local population.

In this respect, the main concern cannot be to give

one of the three components priority over the others.

There should not be a knee-jerk reaction to the

destructive exploitation of biological resources in the

form of a concept in which every economic use of

biological resources is informed by nature conservation

aspects alone. Much rather, all three aspects

have to be considered as integrated from the outset.

A successful concept will therefore be tailored more

to rural regions, which are characterized by the use of

biological resources, and less to regions where industry

or settlements are the predominant influences. In

the process, it is imperative to avoid bureaucratic

over-regulation within the context of local and

nationwide use-planning, in order to give the local

actors flexibility and to open up scope for action,

within the limits set by the guard rails (Section I 1)

and guidelines (Box I 1.1-1) which must still be


The following section introduces the principles

and instruments for a regional approach of this kind

for integrating the conservation and use of biological

resources. Obviously, these are not universally valid

and cannot be used as a template in all regions of the

world; they rather form building blocks which must

be assembled locally to form a ‘well-adapted’ and

flexible concept, given the particular local framework


E 3.9.2

The proposal of bioregional management:

principles and instruments

The World Resources Institute (Miller, 1996) proposes

‘bioregional management’ as a method for

practically shaping the integration of conservation

and use; this term will be described here and evaluated

with regard to its suitability for the implementation

of these objectives in spatial and regional planning.

Bioregion refers to a geographically definable

area with a predominantly rural structure, characterized

by its typical ecosystems, its culture and history

and comprising several ecosystem and landscape use

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