Roadverge management to encourage species diversity

Roadverge management to encourage species diversity
Green strips along roadsides. © Rainer Sturm/ pixelio.de

Involved sectors

Nature protection, Transport

Affected habitats

Areas for settlements and transport

Description

Delaying mowing gives plants the opportunity to bloom and form fruits and seeds. In this way, they can provide food and cover for insects and other small animals. The habitat quality of green strips and roadside verges depends on various factors, and mowing is one of the factors which are easiest to influence. By delaying mowing of verges until late summer, or by using mosaic-type mowing techniques, which involves mowing only a small area at a time, habitat conditions can be improved, e.g. for butterflies and various other species.

Impact

Impact in particular on Insects
Ecological impact  
Reduction of fragmentation or creation of new valuable habitats As these are roadside verges, they form a network of green spaces which can facilitate migration of plants and animals and, if structured in an environmentally compatible way, can help to mitigate fragmentation.
Improvement or preservation of habitats Delaying mowing gives plants the opportunity to bloom and form fruits and seeds and thus provide habitats for more fauna, especially insects.
Element of ecological network If the managed spaces are integrated into a broader biotope networking strategy, they can act as corridors along roads between core areas. However, it is important to consider the potential risk of neophyte encroachment.
Time of realisation for measure Months: The impact develops mainly during the vegetation period.
Impact scope Very localised (plot): The measure mainly benefits insects and plants and so its impact is mainly local.

Implementation

Implementation period Months: Ideally, this measure should be implemented at municipal or even at regional level so that it can develop its full impact, especially in terms of ecoconnectivity.
Frequency Recurring: Ideally, mowing should be managed over a number of years.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Low (1'000-10'000 EUR): No additional costs arise as a result of the measure compared with conventional mowing management.
Socio-economic impacts Medium: Better planning of working time and use of resources and a reduced workload can all help to cut costs.
Sources of financing Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national
Legal situation Traffic safety prescribed by law must be adhered to.

Further information

Evaluation In the Département Isère, the highways department and the administration of the Département (Conseil Général), in partnership with the nature conservation organisation GENTIANA, have been running a project since 2004 entitled “Managed mowing of roadside verges: protecting nature”, which focusses on the roadside verges and green strips in the road network. Signs at strategically and ecologically important sections of the highway network draw attention to the scheme and inform the public. The project’s positive impacts on flora and fauna have already been demonstrated.
Information Other: Information on "managed mowing", together with checklists and examples, are available on the GENTIANA website: http://www.gentiana.org/
Contact Other: Contact person for these projects at Gentiana: Pierre Salen
Good Practice Managed mowing of roadside verges, Isère, France
Gestion raisonnable du fauchage des bords des routes
Gestione ottimizzata degli sfalci ai margini delle carreggiate

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