#3: Frankfurt (FRA) cultivates and reforests surrounding land
Frankfurt Airport (FRA) has long worked to balance the activity at its airport by undertaking environmental sustainability programs. As one of its major initiatives, Fraport AG has worked to reforest and develop near-natural biotopes in 13 areas in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region –including its reforestation projects at Hohenaue Natural Conservation Area and Hofgut Schönau Area.
One of the airport’s first reforestation projects was its Hohenaue Natural Conservation Area. The airport began reforesting the area in the 1990s after purchasing the former agricultural property in 1991. Soft and hard woods, native to water meadows, were planted on the terrain to allow a new woodland area to emerge. Additionally, FRA developed a designated scenic trail that is regularly cultivated, with information boards for visitors to learn about the flora and fauna in the area. In 1998, Hohenaue was declared a natural conservation area by Germany and was incorporated into further development of alluvial forest in the regions of Langenau/Nonnenau, Kornsand-Nord, and Rockenwörth/Rauchenau in 2007.
In the mid-2000s, FRA began reforesting 21 hectares of land as project Hofgut Schönau in Rüsselsheim district adjacent to the airport to create a new site for mixed deciduous forest – FRA planted over 130,000 trees and 10,000 shrubs, including oak, beech, cherry and common walnut trees. The area contains upstream grasslands and a pond to provide a spawning ground for dragonflies and amphibians.
The airport has also cultivated existing deciduous forestland in Mönchbruch, to develop a suitable habitat for the protection of species, like Bechstin’s bat and stag beetles. To support this habitat, FRA kept the area free of non-indigenous plant growth to ensure the preservation of the forest’s multi-layer distributed growth, including old and deadwood. FRA also mounted bat-nesting boxes in suitable places with little deadwood.
As of 2017, FRA said in its Environmental Statement Report that it has nearly entirely implemented its reforestation project measures. Fraport conducted a monitoring program in 2016, and wildlife species in its forests are thriving.