Biodiversity Hotspots:

Power line routes as habitats

Our electricity lines extend over wide expanses of land, forests and fields. They represent the backbone of the Austrian power supply, but are also habitats for many types of flora and fauna. We safeguard the biodiversity of animals and plants through a wide variety of measures to make sure that the route corridor offers a pleasant habitat.

Lifeline for Austria: sustainable route management

APG’s power grid transverses a variety of landscapes throughout Austria, from low-lying valleys all the way to the Alpine heights. The power line routes may run through forests, meadows or fields depending on the region and the climate. We are well aware that grid infrastructure always necessitates a certain degree of intervention in nature. To keep intervention as minimal as possible, APG has implemented a sustainable route management concept for many years in all regions. Accordingly, maintenance and care is performed with as much respect for the natural environs as possible.

Responsibility for nature and the environment

As a responsible user of the land, APG contributes to conserving and improving Austria’s variety of species and habitats by carrying out targeted nature and species conservation measures. We support biodiversity by ensuring that our landscape care efforts meet the requirements of the specific corridor environment. Our ecological route maintenance measures reflect the natural potential of the various habitats located along our electricity lines. Line routes therefore become valuable habitats for plants and animals.

A win-win: operational security and environmental care

Trees and shrubs cannot grow too close to power lines. Instead of completely removing the natural growth along the routes at regular intervals, APG replaces fast-growing types of trees and shrubs with slow-growing species, especially on routes running through forests. The edges of forests are designed in tiered and structurally diverse arrangement so as to create a fluid transition to the rest of the forest. In regions having a high agricultural density, the spaces at the foot of the transmission towers serve as a refuge for many plants and animals. When correctly designed, power line routes are popular breeding and feeding grounds for birds and small mammals.

Close collaboration with property owners and experts

Constructive cooperation with property owners is a basic prerequisite for putting ecological route management into practice. In planning its regular route maintenance activities, the APG maintenance team cooperates with farmers and forest workers in the respective regions in addition to other experts.

As part of sustainable route management, APG implements projects to protect species and biotopes, such as the projects to protect the Great Bustard, the Saker Falcon, the Hoopoe and the Ural Owl. Transmission line corridors passing through forested areas are popular refuges for animals and also offer clearings where rare plants can thrive.