Wilderness in UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin

Management of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin, Germany is committed for more that 24 years to the protection of this area! Managers spent countless days and nights in the field, at meetings and in discussions with a wide spectrum of stakeholders to achieve all objectives of this protected area. The process contributed to the well known and well managed UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin

The mandatory tasks for the biosphere reserve in the framework of the MAB program are sustainable regional development, to develop, pilot and monitor new models for ecologically sustainable land use, education for sustainable development, research, and ecosystem observation. Further on, each biosphere reserve has to have a core zone of at least 3 % of the area for protection of ecosystem processes. 

In the UNESCO Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve the legally protected core zones cover roughly 4,000 hectares, some 1,000 hectares more are actually wild areas without use. These core zones according to the European Wilderness Quality Standard audited by the European Wilderness Society are named Wilderness. I am glad that the first visit and glimpse of representative of the European Wilderness Society confirmed that the core zone in this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin could meet the requirements of the European Wilderness Quality Standard…

said Vlado Vancura, Wilderness Director of the European Wilderness Society.

Non-intervention is the overall target in core zones of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin, but it is not always feasible everywhere yet. The browsing pressure of ungulates, for instance, depends on hunting practice and agricultural use in the surroundings. This can lead to extraordinary high ungulate densities in the core zone, affecting the natural and undisturbed development of the forests.

For this reason, in most of the core zones there still is a need of a minimum ungulate management (but no regular hunting use!), despite biosphere reserve administration would prefer to cease it completely. Another example of negative impact of non-native species are the big East-Asian carp species. Another example of intervention in some core zones was the initial regulation of introduced non-native species like the big East-Asian carp species (e.g. Armure carp) which can deteriorate natural lake ecosystems seriously…

added Max A. E. Rossberg, Chairman of the European Wilderness Society .

Visitors, being allowed to experience the core zones on guided tours or on well-selected trails are not a real problem for the biosphere reserve core zones at all. It is helpful in this context, that tourist organisations actually agree to let trails become more natural and adventurous. That means for instance that fallen trees can be left on the trails so that people have to climb over them or search a way around. Visitors increasingly like such situations as a wilderness experience.

In reality the core zones of many UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Europe do not always focus on non-intervention management. I am glad that after this site visit and intensive discussion we found a way how this area can become a member of the European Wilderness Network.

concluded Vlado Vancura from European Wilderness Society.

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