The objectives of the biosphere reserve include:
- to conserve native species diversity
- to protect the relatively natural ecosystems of a Central European river valley
- to preserve and maintain the internationally-significant Dessau-Wörlitzer cultural landscape
- to conserve the largest complex of floodplain forest in Central Europe
- to monitor, to conduct research, and to provide environmental education, as required by UNESCO (Man and Biosphere Program)
- to develop model examples of ecologically sustainable land use.