Sustainable regional development in nature parks – 10-year retrospection and future prospects


  • Florian Weber Universität des Saarlandes
  • Jörg Liesen Verband Deutscher Naturparke
  • Friedericke Weber Biosphärenreservat Pfälzerwald-Nordvogesen
  • Nora Crossey Universität des Saarlandes



nature parks, sustainable regional development, task portfolio, threats, opportunities


In 2002, sustainable regional development was introduced as a legal mandate (§27, sect. 1. Nr. 6 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act) for the more than 100 nature parks in Germany, subsequently expanding the scope of their activities and introducing new incentives. Quantitative and qualitative surveys conducted by Friedericke Weber in 2010 and 2011 indicated new opportunities for nature parks to develop distinct profiles, juxtaposed with challenges regarding future task fulfillment. In a pursuit of both research- and practice-oriented questions and based on an adapted replication of these surveys, we ask how the managing directors evaluate potentials and restrictions related to the task of sustainable regional development in the context of their overall portfolio of tasks and objectives. From a conceptual perspective, it becomes evident that nature parks, with their networking activities, correspond to central criteria of the regional governance debate. Nonetheless, a certain unclarity remains with regard to the notion of “sustainable regional development”, which is in turn closely linked to the similarly broad concept of “sustainability”. From an application-oriented perspective, the survey results show that nature park managers perceive positive development prospects in many areas. Nature parks in Germany have thus proceeded further on the path towards a role as regional managers in “model regions of sustainable development”.



How to Cite

Weber , F., Liesen, J., Weber, F., & Crossey, N. (2021). Sustainable regional development in nature parks – 10-year retrospection and future prospects. Raumforschung Und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning.



Policy and practice perspective