Von der Alb

Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve

Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve

On www.von-der-alb.de people who live and work in the Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve tell their stories about what they do and what makes this so special for them. The Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve has been designated by the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programm in 2009. There are 631 biosphere reserves worldwide, 15 of them are in Germany (in 2014). These are model regions to protect the natural landscape and the cultural landscape that was shaped by the people.
Extending 40 kilometres from North to South and covering a surface of 850 square kilometres the Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve stretches from the „Albvorland“ (the foothills of the Swabian Alb) in the North across the „Albtrauf“ (the steep slopes of the Swabian Alb) and the plateau to the Danube river in the South. The Swabian Alb is the largest connected karst range in Germany.

„Large cultural landscape with divers natural features can be declared „biosphere reserves“ acorrding to German Law. Biosphere reserves are model regions with a high life quality, where it is possible to show how economy, settlements and tourism together with nature and the environment can be developed in a forward-looking way“
(quoted from www.biosphaerengebiet-alb.de)

The protected area category of a biosphere reserve differs from that of a national park especially in the fact, that a national park aims to protect the nature and wilderness in their original form while a biosphere reserve is for the protection and the further development of cultural landscapes, that have been shaped by humanity. Biosphere reserve and biosphere area („Biosphärengebiet“ in German) are synonymous. The government of Baden-Württemberg chose to use the term „Biosphärengebiet“.
The concept of the biosphere reserves divides the landscape into three different zones with specific functions: the core zone, the buffer zone and the transition zone.
The 3% of the area that are identified as the core zone should be left in a „preferably unaffected natural state“ and are not be used for agriculture or forestry, but people may walk on the marked paths. At least 10% of a biosphere reserve have to be identified as the buffer zone according to the specifications of the German MAB commitee (MAB stands for Man and the Biosphere programme) to protect cultural landscape and habitats with a high biodiversity, which have developed because of extensive use and care, examples are the meadow orchards where trees are trimmed and the grasslands where sheep are grazing.
The transition zone is used as a space to live and work and as a recreation area for the people. Programmes for sustainable development support a regional value creation that goes easy on the environment and the natural resources. People should to use the area where they live without endangering or distroying it.

You can find more information on the website of the Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve

About www.von-der-alb.de

The development of the Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve and what it can mean for the people and the nature is something that only some people experience directly, mainly because they are involved in it. Many other people (like myself in the beginning of this project) are not really aware of it. That is why I want to get to know the stories of the people, who are involved with an aspect of the biosphere reserve through their work or their hobby and let them tell their story.
A region the like the Swabian Alb is like a mosaic made up by many aspects and stories. Therefore I don’t try to show the entire biosphere reserve in my reportages, but I want to tell many small stories. Each story is a little piece of the overall picture and many more stories can follow.

The immediate environment is much more divers and exciting than we often think. I hope you will have a chance to get to know some of the people and the landscape of the Swabian Alb – not only here on my website but also in real life.