It is not only the protection of individual areas by excluding utilisation by man but rather the integration of nature conservation objectives into the aims and claims of different kinds of land use which is to be achieved in the biosphere reserve. Since the high value of the Rhön is based on the traditional cultural landscape used by man, one must attach great importance to a common strategy of nature conserva-tion and land use (integrated nature conservation). This can lead to considerable synergy effects which promote activities com-patible with nature conservation on the basis of economic advantages and which, therefore, strongly support the efforts of nature conservation to the benefit of landscape maintenance.
In view of the excellent presence of species and habitats today it is most impor-tant to maintain the quality of the Rhön as it is at the moment. The central role is played by continued farming and mainte-nance of the extensively used grasslands and the densely structured hedgerow-country by farmers. Especially the further afforestation of poor grassland areas must be avoided in order to con-serve the habitats, the appearance of landscapes and the cultural and historic importance of the Rhön. Concerning forests, the focus lies on the conser-vation of large, near-natural deciduous forests by means of near-natural or natural forestry. Examples of representative forest ecosystems can be found on new red sandstone, keuper, limestone and basalt at all elevations from 250 to 900 meters. For nature conservation measures to be effective, the most valuable areas must be secured as protected areas in a sufficient size. These protected areas constitute a retreat area for endan-gered species and should be considered as main areas for the recolonialisation and spreading of formerly common species. In order to protect these areas against negative external influences (input of fertilisers and pesticides, disturbance and unrest) sufficient zones must be established around them. In order to guarantee a genetic ex-change between protected areas, ecological stepping-stones must be established and a minimum quality must be guaranteed for intensively farmed areas as habitats for fauna and flora.
The protection of the abiotic resources air, water and soil is of great importance especially in the more intensively used areas. The objectives of nature conservation and landscape maintenance is put into practice by a large-scale zonation scheme. This zoning however, does not replace detailed investigations and plans at local level. Principles for this detailed analysis are agreed upon in general guidelines for every ecosystem.