How can small protected areas contribute to biodiversity conservation on a regional scale? How can funding for biodiversity activities be ensured in the long term? Creating a biosphere reserve might be a solution for the Austrian region Northern Limestone Alps. This is one of the outcomes of a greenAlps stakeholder workshop held on 20 May 2014 in Molln.
Several protected areas exist in the Northern Limestone Alps, including the National Parks Kalkalpen and Gesäuse. This complexity of structures is often not clear to stakeholders. Furthermore, small protected areas are not very effective. Creating a biosphere reserve as a co-ordinating structure that could also launch projects was discussed as a possible solution by the workshop participants. Participants discussed experiences of working with municipalities under the LEADER programme. They also exchanged views on the project “Netzwerk Naturwald”, in which three protected areas co-operate for the establishment of a regional ecological network. The multi-stakeholder-process that could facilitate the creation of a biosphere reserve was also debated. The workshop findings will be synthesised and flow into the results of the greenAlps project, where they will be reflected in recommendations to policy makers.