Site-appropriate “greening” in road and watercourse construction and landscaping

Site-appropriate “greening” in road and watercourse construction and landscaping
When creating green areas during the construction of roads one has to regard the fitting seed assortments. © Rike/ pixelio.de

Involved sectors

Agriculture, Water management, Spatial planning, Transport

Affected habitats

Areas for settlements and transport

Description

When creating green areas during the construction of roads, railways and watercourses and landscaping projects, seed assortments are often used which, due to their species poverty, are not suitable for ecologically valuable “greening” or are not site-appropriate and therefore result in biologically impoverished landscape areas. The result is a large number of seriously eroded sites at higher altitudes, vegetation-free embankments, and river banks which are far from being in a natural state. If, on the other hand, site-appropriate seed mixtures are used, with adapted species which are suitable for elevated sites, for example, the green spaces can become valuable elements of a biotope network.

Impact

Impact in particular on Small mammals, Birds, Insects
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats Embankments which are designed to be as near-natural as possible and spaces adjacent to infrastructure can provide habitats for rare species.
Element of ecological network These spaces can form stepping stones in the biotope network. The impact can be increased through integration into a broader strategy.
Other Spaces with near-natural growth contribute to soil protection and guard against erosion.
Time of realisation for measure Months: Some months elapse from the time the preparatory measures are carried out until the full impact occurs during the vegetation period.
Impact scope Local (municipality): If linked with broader biotope network planning (e.g. linkage with fallow areas with scrub, extensive grassland, hedges, oligotrophic grasslands, edges), the impact is increased.

Implementation

Implementation period Days: "Greening" measures do not take much time and can be well-integrated into conventional landscaping schemes.
Frequency Recurring: This requires the implementation of a long-term strategy.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Very low (less than 1'000 EUR): The additional costs which may be associated with the measure can be set against improved economic viability as there is no longer any need to bring in topsoil, costs of remediation are also reduced, and less maintenance is involved.
Socio-economic impacts Low: Production of seed of site-appropriate species can offer alternative income generation opportunities for farmers in the region (domestic value-added instead of seed imports).
Sources of financing Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national, Public: European
Legal situation In Upper Austria, framework guidelines have been developed for the performance, ecological supervision and approval of site-appropriate "greening" schemes.

Further information

Evaluation The Austrian Grassland Federation (ÖAG) has developed guidelines on site-appropriate greening which can provide guidance. Various seed mixtures have also been developed ("natural meadow seed" project).
Information Austria: Further information on seed mixtures: http://www.wildblumensaatgut.at/Resources/Regelwerk.pdf , http://www.saatbau.at/deutsch/saatgut/renatura/produktvorstellung/begruenungsmischungen.html
Contact Austria: Working Group on Site-Appropriate Greening: Head - Dr. Bernhard Krautzer

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