Landscape design benefits the environment

To integrate Munich Airport into its environment in the best possible way, FMG set about – from the very outset – creating structures that would upgrade the environment in the wider area of Erdinger and Freisinger Moos and link it together. In line with applicable green space planning, a three-zone area was created: Zone I comprises the airport grounds, including the take-off and landing runway system, buildings and roads; Zone II is composed of the wooded green belt with structural diversity around the airport premises, and Zone III is made up of ecological compensation measures.

Zone I: Airport premises with runway system, buildings, and roads

Green areas with currently around 5,000 planted trees make up almost two thirds of the airport premises. Specialist care and maintenance has led to a rich variety of vegetation and ecologically valuable habitats especially for rare meadow breeders, particularly inside the security fence, on the green areas between the runways and their infrastructure facilities.

Zone II: Wooded green belt with structural diversity around the airport premises

With its woods, drainage channels, and meadows, this area around the edge of the airport acts as sound protection and as a buffer for settlements and agriculture. For instance, the northern receiving ditch with its near-natural designed course, is home to plants that are worthy of protection such as the pasqueflower, ox-eye, perennial flax, and campanula. On the list of particularly protected species are the marsh gladiolus and fen pondweed.

Zone III: Ecological compensation measures

FMG has meanwhile planned and created approximately 500 hectares of compensation areas. The aim is to offset the interventions in the natural landscape caused by the building projects. The responsible certification bodies have confirmed that sufficient areas have been cultivated and that these are looked after properly. These compensation areas for conservation, with their structural diversity and rich variety of vegetation, make an important contribution to biodiversity in the region. They are distributed in the agricultural land and provide shelter and stepping stones in the biotope network. They are neither fertilized nor treated with pesticides.

Zone model

Zone model of the landscape around Munich Airport, divided into zones I-III (map)

More compensation areas around the airport

Starting in the fall of 2020, FMG implemented compensation measures across about 20 hectares in the airport area, taking about eight hectares of space out of its existing eco- and/or inventory account. Clearing of surface soil and planting plant and grass mixes typical of the site, combined with targeted mowing, upgraded the cultivated grassland in ecological terms, turning it into diverse rough or wet meadowlands, for example. The newly designed space helps to compensate for interference due to construction work such as additional soil surface sealing. It fits into the existing biotope network in the Freising and Erding regions and helps to expand natural habitat, especially for the lapwing and western yellow wagtail, two protected bird species.

40 percent By themselves, the airport’s ecologically valuable meadows account for more than 40 percent of the airport grounds, at 658 out of over 1,575 hectares.

Bird sanctuary on airport premises

Munich Airport is an inherent part of the 4,525-hectare «Nördliches Erdinger Moos» European bird sanctuary, which is home to 40 species of bird, some highly endangered. The 658-hectare meadow areas next to the runways and the compensation and replacement areas outside the airport premises serve as a refuge for meadow-breeding grassland birds, rare plants, reptiles, dragonflies, and butterflies.

Protected habitat for the most varied species

The «Meadow breeder protection in the area around Munich Airport» project, set up in 2016 with specialist support from the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment, has continued to progress: FMG has been continually developing and testing preventive concepts and measures in recent years on around 50 hectares of land currently used for agriculture, including nest protection, more extensive cultivation, mowing concepts designed to suit meadow breeders, and fencing to protect against predators. In addition, ecological lease agreements have been drafted corresponding requirements regarding cultivation. The very dry weather seen in 2020 had a highly negative impact on the breeding season among local grassland birds. Despite these difficult conditions, project areas achieved a certain level of success.

The project to protect rare wetland butterflies in the Freisinger Moos area was concluded in 2020. Mowing activities in the area, which stretches over five hectares in all, will continue to accommodate these threatened species in an effort to build on the success of the measures that have already been taken. During the five-year project phase, the number of butterflies has increased overall, as has the diversity of common species. The number of rare wetland butterflies and the extent of their range have remained constant. However, experts believe the population of these protected insects is on the rise as further advances in habitat quality are made.

Part of the airport premises has been designated as a bird sanctuary (photo)
Part of the airport premises has been designated as a bird sanctuary.

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