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Nature & landscape

Important habitat Zurich Airport

The area within the perimeters of Zurich Airport is an important habitat for rare plant and animal species.

Nature conservation areas

More than half of the airport site is not built on and is not directly utilised for aviation. This green space includes nature conservation areas and a variety of grasslands.
The 74 hectare nature conservation area „Klotener Riet“, which is located between runways 16/34 and 14/32, comprises around 34 hectares of low moorlands of national importance.

Together with the other nature conservation areas adjacent to the airport, „Altläufe der Glatt“, „Bachenbülacher Allmend“, „Rütner Allmend“ and „Goldentor“, this is what remains of the extensive former marsh landscape. These nature conservation areas are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including some extremely rare species.
They are looked after by the cantonal office for nature conservation in collaboration with Flughafen Zürich AG.

As a substitute for nature conservation areas affected by the 5th expansion programme, Flughafen Zürich AG established the 5-hectare „Halbmatt“ biotope, to the North of the airport. Nature conservation areas were also set up along the river Glatt and in the municipalities of Steinmaur and Weiach to offset the environmental impact.

Green spaces and land management

Flughafen Zürich AG is responsible for maintaining other green spaces – e.g. around the runways. The aim of maintaining green space is to manage land so as to ensure the safety of flight operations. 

The nature-oriented approach of managing these green spaces as extensive grassy meadows, which was introduced more than ten years ago, is having a positive impact. On the one hand, this type of vegetation makes it difficult for birds of prey to hunt for food (lower bird strike risk) and on the other hand, it promotes the development of a nutrient-poor cohesive meadow landscape which is becoming something of a rarity in central Switzerland.