Participation processes in biosphere reserves
Biosphere reserves are model regions for sustainable development. At present, approximately 500 UNESCO biosphere reserves exist worldwide. The active involvement and participation of the local population are indispensable for the long-term success of these regions. In an interdisciplinary research project, the participation processes of three Austrian model regions are investigated (Walsertal Biosphere Reserve, Wienerwald Biosphere Reserve, Nockberge National Park). Through a series of events, the local population is given the opportunity to explore and discuss possible ways of actively participating in the reserve project. Simultaneously, experts from exotic-sounding disciplines such as Intervention Research, Change Management, Diversity Management, Governance, and Participation Design are working on a theory on the participation processes in the biosphere reserves. The goal is to improve participation opportunities in planning and managing the reserves, based on the motto “There is nothing more practical than a good theory”.