Man and Biosphere
UNESCO biosphere reserves are not simply schemes to protect the environment, rather they strive to achieve harmony between human land use and nature. Thus, in addition to the demands of the environment, economic, social, cultural, and ethical interests also play an important role.
Biosphere reserves are large-scale, representative sites of natural and cultural landscapes. The majority of the area of the reserve is supposed to possess some degree of legal protection. In cooperation with those who live and work within the reserve\s boundaries, model concepts of conservation, development, and management are developed and put into practice in biosphere reserves. They also serve to investigate the relationship between humans and the environment, to monitor the ecological resources, and to educate people about the local environment.
The goal is to develop a worldwide network of biosphere reserves, that encompasses the various ecosystems and habitats on the Earth. As of 2000, there were 384 biosphere reserves in 91 countries. The Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve is one of 12 in Germany and represents the plains and glacial valleys of the north German glacial moraine landscape.