ÖAW - MAB-Programm

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

The biosphere reserve “Neusiedler See” was founded in 1977 covering 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. 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 1992. Therefore the Austrian MaB committee supports the current redesigning process, that is underpinned by ongoing research and planning activities.
“BIOSERV” is contributing to these activities by setting a scientifically sound baseline for sustainable development of the region and for displaying dynamic processes and their desired direction. This shall be 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. To allow a thorough function-analysis, data on landscape, land use and the regional socio-economic context will be used to describe the landscape potential, and to compare it with the actual situation and some development options as identified by stakeholders. Focus will be given to nature conservation and landscape management as well as the two main economy sectors dominating the area: agriculture, tourism and recreation. Based on this, informed decisions about the extent and content of a redesigned biosphere reserve, that fullfills the Seville strategy and its respective Austrian criteria, should be possible.

With the adaptation of the scientific concept of ecosystem functions, goods and services to the regional situation, so-defined landscape functions will be evaluated in the wider investigation area of the Neusiedler See including potential enlargement areas of Seewinkel-Hansag and landscapes on the northern and western side of the lake. This will be done from three different perspectives:
the potential landscape functions: they are derived mainly from the bio-physical situation, displaying the bandwidth for several land uses in a multi-functional landscape. In general, this will be done by modelling the most important bio-physical features like geomorphology, soil and hydrological situation and by identifying adequate tresholds and optimum situations.
the actual landscape functions: on basis of suitable available data (classification of ortho-images, additional field work and expert-interviews), the actual landscape will be described in terms of functions and respective ecosystem goods and services.
the optimal landscape functions: Seville strategy targets and the respective Austrian criteria will be translated into so-called “optimal” landscape functions displaying in which way the actual landscape functions may be altered according to the natural potential and the targets.

Based on such a spatially explicit evaluation of potential and actual landscape functions regarding to the demands of the three sectors (1. nature conservation and landscape management, 2. agriculture, 3. tourism and recreation) options for BR-implementation and zoning will be developed accompanied by the different steps of a participation process. For selected investigation areas, comparisons of the stakeholders´estimations- and the scientifically derived landscape functions will be done in order to identify the agreements and the disagreements with the Seville Strategy targets.
In addition to that, a regional platform for Long Term Socio-Ecological Research shall be initated to ensure the best integration of past, actual and future research in the region into national and international programmes (eg. LTER-Network). This can be seen as an important by-product by the foreseen transdisciplinary process of the proposed BIOSERV project.

Involved Employees:

Dr. Thomas Wrbka | Dr. Karl Reiter | Mag. Christa Renetzeder | Mag. Anna Hermann | Mag. Stefan Schindler | Mag. Martin Prinz

In Kooperation with the

University of Natural Ressources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna - Institute for Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning.

Dr. Christiane Brandenburg | Dr. Karen Ziener | Dipl. Ing. Brigitte Allex

and the University of Western Hungary - Institute of Environmental and Earth Sciences

Dr. Konkoly-Gyuró Éva | Ágnes Tirászi | Lajos Puskás | Pál Balázs

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