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 and link it together. The concept divides the areas in Erdinger and Freisinger Moos into three zones:
Zone I: airport premises with runway system, buildings, and roads
High-quality green areas, with over 6,000 additionally planted trees, make up almost two thirds of the airport premises and zone I. Specialist care and maintenance has led to rich variety of vegetation growing there. This has helped to cultivate high-quality low-nutrient meadows in some areas, which are ecologically much more valuable than the intensively farmed green spaces or arable land beyond the airport fence.
Zone II: wooded green belt with structural diversity around the airport premises
With its woods, ditches, and meadows, this area around the edge of the airport acts as a buffer for settlements and agriculture. For instance, more than half of the area around the northern receiving ditch is now home to vegetation that is worthy of protection, such as the Hungarian iris, marsh gladiolus, or fen pondweed.
Zone III: ecological compensation measures
FMG has in the interim created approximately 375 hectares of compensation areas. The responsible certification bodies (Southern Aviation Office, government of Upper Bavaria, as well as the local («lower») and the regional («higher») nature conservation authorities) have confirmed that sufficient areas have been cultivated and that these are looked after properly. The areas serve as a counterbalance for interventions in the natural landscape caused by construction and renovation measures. The result is a large variety of threatened and rare bird species, including the corn bunting, whinchat, and Eurasian curlew, as well as types of biotope.
The airport inside a bird sanctuary
Munich Airport is part of the 4,525-hectare «Nördliches Erdinger Moos» European bird sanctuary, which is home to 40 endangered species of bird, some highly endangered. It directly borders the airport premises and also includes the 658 hectares of airport meadow around the runways. The area is an important habitat for endangered species of meadow breeders and also for rare species of plants, reptiles, dragonflies, and butterflies, such as creeping marshwort, sand lizards, ornate bluets, and the dusky large blue.
Munich Airport protects meadow breeders and butterflies
Many species of meadow breeder in Bavaria are endangered. To improve their habitats, FMG set up a project in 2016, entitled «Meadow breeder protection in the area around Munich Airport», receiving specialist support from the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment. To achieve this goal, around 50 hectares of land currently used for agriculture will be used to develop and test preventive concepts and measures by 2020. These will include steps such as nest protection, more extensive cultivation, mowing concepts designed to suit meadow breeders, fencing to protect against predators, and the development of ecological lease agreements with corresponding requirements regarding cultivation.
One of the flagship projects within the Bavarian Environmental Pact is the airport’s voluntary commitment to protect rare species of moor-based butterflies on «Freisinger Moos». Scarce heath butterflies, bog fritillaries, dusky large blues and scarce large blues are the four rare and at-risk species that will enjoy a new, protected habitat in six appropriate areas in the region, covering a total space of five hectares. To this end, for example, Munich Airport developed wide borders lined with damp hedgerows and enriched the area with plants important for caterpillar breeding and feeding. In years to come, the areas will also be mown in a manner suitable for these species, in order to copperfasten the success of the measures already taken.
Hunting as active nature protection
Conservation and species protection play an important role in hunting activities in the airport area. For instance, fox and marten populations on the airport meadows are controlled by the airport hunters in an effort to protect at-risk meadow breeders. In addition, FMG owns land in the Isar floodplains, one of Bavaria’s eleven designated areas for red deer. In the past, it has succeeded in safeguarding population areas ensuring red deer continue to be able to move safely, and in striking a balance between nature protection and hunting interests.