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Nature conservation at Malmö Airport

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Aviation, culture and nature exist side by side at Malmö Airport. The 2014 surveys of grass- and scrublands at the airport show that there is good potential to enhance the natural assets found here.

The grasslands around the runway at the airport cover about 160 hectares and are adjacent to the Häckeberga conservation area. The groups of species investigated included beetles, aculeates (insects with stingers), butterflies and vascular plants, that is, plants with lignified tissues such as herbaceous plants, bushes and trees.

Great variation in both plants and insects

The results show that there is great variation in the composition of both plant and insect species. There is also what is known as an indicator species, a species that is useful for identifying and distinguishing areas with a high level of natural assets, which lives in the grasslands that abound with flowers in the airport area.

A total of seven species of insects were found that are included on the European Red List of threatened species, that is, species that are threatened with or risk extinction, as well as one plant species, slender sandwort.

Many species and habitats have a significant nature value

Four habitats have been identified as areas of significant nature value, that is, which are important for biological diversity. Four species were put forward as species of value to natural conservation since they have some nature value connected to the airport’s grasslands.

The species of value to nature are the listed black-headed mason wasp, the solitary West Palaearctic ground-nesting bee Melitta leporina, the moss carder bee and the narrow-bordered five-spot burnet, a moth.

Good potential to enhance the area’s high nature values

  • There are some open lands without ground-covering vegetation which are often disturbed by human activities, what are known as ruderal environments, that provide interesting vegetation and different habitats for certain insects.
  • Grasslands are generally bountiful to be considered grassland, but parts of these lands are semi-arid, with an abundance of species that live in dry habitats.
  • The large area of grasslands covering 160 hectares at the airport is an important source of flowers for many insects. 

The surveys carried out in 2014 have generated useful data about the different types of biotopes (habitats to which certain plant or animal communities belong) and species and for determining what suitable measures are needed to promote and develop these species.

The conclusion drawn from the field surveys and the discussion with field staff is that there is good potential to promote and enhance the high nature value of species and habitats found at Malmö Airport by modifying operations.

Photo: Daniel Segerlind