Nature adapted management of roadsides strengthens green infrastructure and gives a pleasant landscape.
A significant part of biodiversity is linked to mowed natural grasslands. The area of these grasslands has decreased drastically in Sweden. Roadsides constitute a large area that is managed extensively through mowing to provide safety for road users. But they can also act as important linear features in an ecological network. By developing a nature-adapted management of roadsides, the biodiversity associated with grasslands can increase. The Swedish Transport Administration has developed measures to cost effectively strengthen the presence of grassland species: Regularly inventories of species-rich roadsides where management is adapted to maintain and benefit biodiversity. Mowing is carried out early in the season to get rid of grass that risk suffocating the meadow plants and late in the season to ensure that the flowers have had time to seed. Roadsides are scraped to create sand patches for bees and other insects.
Invasive alien species are suppressed by uprooting, removal and burning with priority given to species-rich roadsides. Through a developed collaboration between authorities and other actors, these measures are prioritized to areas important for the green infrastructure (GI) and where the remaining areas with grasslands can be connected. Collaboration among stakeholders are the key to a successful and coordinated management of GI-elements and by this, we increase the connectivity and enhances the potential for a functional ecological network of natural grasslands
Personnel with nature conservation expertise working with inventories, nature-adapted measures, procurement of subcontractors.
Staff working with measures to strengthen green infrastructure, endangered species etc.
Time for cooperation and dialogue between authorities and interest groups.
Evidence of success
This have been used in e.g. authorities assignment to implement measures for endangered species in several regions of the country. This have contributed to the development of regional action plans for GI and, via an MSP-process, an action plan within project BIOGOV. According to a national proposal for a milestone for GI, the importance of roadsides for connectivity in the landscape will be strengthened by the authorities being commissioned to manage infrastructure so that biodiversity benefits.
Potential for learning or transfer
The learning transfer entails the importance of collaboration between different land users and policy sectors to increase green infrastructure and give an integrated approach to land use. Mowing-like care is carried out today in several areas where the purpose is not to maintain and strengthen green infrastructure. Through nature-adapted care, there are good conditions for strengthening biodiversity and green infrastructure here as well. This applies, among other things, maintenance along railways, power lines, airfields and golf courses.
By using knowledge base on green infrastructure and a developed collaboration between authorities, consultants and other actors, measures can be prioritized so that GI is strengthened.
This good practice can be used for other habitats of natural grasslands and species in other areas, regions or countries.
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