Pilot project "Meadow breeding birds"

Pilot project improves habitat of threatened bird species

Munich Airport is part of the 4,525 hectare European bird protection area, the "Northern Erdinger Moos": one of the most important habitats for meadow breeders in Bavaria. For more effective protection of such threatened bird species as the Eurasian curlew or northern lapwing, even outside the airport, Munich Airport has launched a pilot project to protect meadow breeders with expert support from the Bavarian Environment Ministry. The goal is to continue protecting and improving the habitat of the birds around the airport. "We are very aware that our airport is located within the European bird conservation area, and take our responsibility very seriously," says Dr. Michael Kerkloh, the CEO of Munich Airport.

The Bavarian economics minister Ulrike Scharf comments: "Biodiversity is under pressure. The protection of endangered species poses challenges for all parts of society. Seven of the nine meadow breeder species in Bavaria are endangered, two of them critically. The
meadow breeder project at the airport is an important contribution to the protection of our domestic fauna."

Under the pilot project, safeguards and protective measures will be developed and tested on up to 50 hectares of agricultural land over the next five years. These will include nest protection, less intensive farming, a mowing schedule to meet the needs of meadow breeders,
fencing for protection against predators, and the negotiation of ecological land leases with appropriate restrictions on farming. The goal of the pilot project is to combine protection of meadow breeders in the area of Munich Airport with pragmatic, suitably adapted and economically viable farming. Conservation and farming should not be mutually exclusive, but rather should complement one another in the form of ecologically responsible land use.

Seven of the nine meadow breeder species in Bavaria are endangered.

Ulrike Scharf

Ulrike Scharf

Bavarian economics minister

A save home for skylark, Eurasian curlew and many more

  • The poor airport meadows represent an ideal, undisturbed breeding area for the lapwing. Well over 100 breeding pairs can be found here each year. The lapwing is classified as highly endangered in Bavaria (Bavarian Red List: Level 2).
  • Over 50 pairs of the Eurasian curlew regularly breed and successfully raise their young on the meadows alongside the runways each year. Only 500 breeding pairs of this species remain in Bavaria, which is why the Eurasian curlew is classified as being "threatened with extinction" (Level 1) on the Bavarian Red List. Over 95 percent of the entire Eurasian curlew population in the bird sanctuary are found on the Airport meadows inside the Airport perimeter.
  • The skylark is a species found in open countryside and is a ground-nesting bird. Fast growing crops on intensively farmed land make the fields unattractive as nesting sites for skylarks. This has led to the skylark population in Bavaria being classified as endangered (Bavarian Red List: Level 3). Large populations continue to thrive, however, on the poor Airport meadows.

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