Biosphere reserves and their contribution to sustainable development

A value-chain analysis in the Rhön Biosphere Reserve, Germany

Felix Kraus 1 , Cornelius Merlin 1  and Hubert Job 1
  • 1 Würzburg

Abstract

The regional labeling scheme Dachmarke Rhön is an approach of the Rhön Biosphere Reserve to foster sustainable economic development through the intensification of regional value chains. The study compares the members of the Dachmarke Rhön with a random sample, both consisting of small rural enterprises in the economic sectors of tourism and food processing. Based on face-to-face interviews with 99 managers, a comparison of the two groups regarding their integration into regional value chains is elaborated: the two groups mainly coincide with regard to the reasons for choosing local suppliers. However, members of the Dachmarke Rhön are putting more emphasis on regional buying and the relationship to their suppliers. The share of total value added within the enterprises is higher in the random sample. This on the other hand explains higher expenses for supplies and a lower direct regional economic impact within the group of enterprises of the Dachmarke Rhön. Nevertheless the analysis shows, that the expenses for buying goods stay to a greater proportion within the region and facilitate a more diverse economic structure. Thus indirect regional economic effects are maximized fostering multifunctionality at the same time. The Dachmarke Rhön therefore can be seen as a market-based tool for fostering sustainable economic development, although the need for improvement regarding logistics and education for sustainable development exists.

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The primary focus of the German Journal for Economic Geography (ZFW) is on theory-led empirical research about spatial economic structures and regional dynamics. ZFW, which is the only scientific journal on Economic Geography in German speaking countries, addresses scientists and students as well as decision makers in private firms and economic promotion agencies.

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