Biosphere reserves are model regions for sustainable development. In biosphere reserves, new approaches to harmonise human and nature should be developed and exemplary put into practice. Therefore, research does not exist for its own sake but should serve for the functions and goals to answer various questions. Thus, research is a service which provides information for decision makers in environmental policy and management. Models, criteria and approaches for solutions are to be developed for the utilisation of land compatible with the relevant site. This includes also strategies for the protection of threatened animal and plant species and the conservation and development of their habitats. In biosphere reserves, applied research and research oriented towards the actual implementation takes precedence. Research in the Rhön biosphere reserve goes beyond the individual Federal Land and must be coordinated across Länder boundaries taking into account not only the content of measures but also the areas affected. A Geographical Information System (GIS) is built up for the biosphere reserve Rhön which allows for EDP supported processing and presentation of surface-related information. In addition, environmental monitoring takes place in the Rhön which is supported by different institutions. From 1997 to 2001, a transboundary research and development concept for integrated ecological monitoring was realised. This is the basis for further ecological monitoring in the Rhön biosphere reserve.
In order to satisfy this high standard, the Rhön biosphere reserve needs to fulfill the following criteria:
According to the fundamental goals of the framework management plan and their connected problems, research should focus on the following topics in the Rhön biosphere reserve:
The most important questions are summarised in the framework research plan. Selected studies are presented annually to the interested public.