German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Zoning of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

Core area

The core area is devoted to nature conservation and to protection of the genetic resources, flora and fauna, landscapes and ecosystems it contains. It is the reference area for research. Core areas have strict protection status. Human intervention must be kept to a minimum. Access is generally only permitted for research, monitoring or education (fulfilling the conservation and logistic support functions). The core area should make up at least three percent of the total area of a biosphere reserve.

Buffer zone

The buffer zone surrounds the core area and serves the conservation and management of ecosystems arising from or influenced by land use. The primary objective is to conserve extensively used cultural landscapes containing a wide range of different habitats for numerous characteristic species of flora and fauna. The buffer zone and core area should together make up at least 20 percent of a biosphere's total area.

Transition area

The transition area surrounds the buffer zone and is used to support sustainable development. All land uses and economic activities are benign to the environment, nature and society. Research and monitoring are also carried out in the transition area.

Zonation of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

Last Change: 01/04/2020