Nature and landscape

As well as the airport infrastructure, extensive natural spaces are also to be found at Zurich Airport. Flughafen Zürich AG ensures the preservation of the ecological value of this space.

Valuable habitats

Of the total of 953 hectares within the airportʼs perimeter, around half comprise green spaces. Thanks to the fence, a mosaic of different habitats provides animals and plants, in some cases even rare ones, with a place where they can be largely undisturbed.

As Zurich Airport was sited in the middle of reed meadows when it was planned in the 1940s, it also encompasses extensive areas of especially high ecological value. A total of 74 hectares are designated nature conservation areas, including marshlands of national importance. The nature conservation area is larger than in the previous year thanks to the addition of amphibian spawning grounds of national importance.

Prevention of bird strikes

With its wooded areas, watercourses and large open spaces, the airport also attracts a large number of bird species. However, large birds and flocking birds in particular can present a safety risk for aircraft. Collisions between birds and aircraft (known as bird strikes) can have serious consequences and so must be avoided at all costs.

Management of the green spaces is therefore designed to make the airfield less attractive to birds. Most of the open spaces are managed as extensively used high-grass meadows. This is both environmentally friendly and also helps to reduce the risk of bird strikes. The high grass makes it difficult for birds of prey to spot their prey on the ground and it also discourages flocking birds from settling there.

Specific steps have also been taken to reduce the birdsʼ food supply – for instance weasels are encouraged because they compete with birds of prey in hunting small mammals.