Protected areas and regional development: conflicts and opportunities - presented on the example of the UNESCO biosphere reserve Bliesgau
All over the world, UNESCO biosphere reserves are designated in order to protect regionally distinctive landscapes. This designation represents a significant up-valuation of nature reserves and landscape conservation areas, forests and other mostly rural landscapes. In cases where biosphere reserves include urban areas, additional objectives are established such as the development of urban-rural-relationships. The Biosphere Reserve Bliesgau which is a sustainable model region responds to this challenge. Located in a rural part of Saarland, the biosphere Bliesgau is still facing further challenges which are connected to the designation as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. This designation entails many obligations that are conditions and restrictions for the actors on the one hand and that provide opportunities for key personalities to make progress in achieving their aims concerning nature conservation on the other. Hence, not only prospects but potential for conflict emerged which complicates regional development in rural Saarland. A primary survey in the biosphere reserve allowed for the identification of the presented conflicts.