Michael Below

Plenary session:

Highspeed Railways and Nature Conservation: A Growing Challenge or an Opportunity?

Dr. Michael Below

Dr. Michael Below
Betrieblicher Umweltschutz (TUM 1) – Naturschutz
Deutsche Bahn AG
DB Umweltzentrum
Caroline-Michaelis-Straße 5 – 11
D-10115 Berlin

The recent growing-rates of railway traffic pointed out the importance of this modern and environmental compatible transportation mode. In the near future it is expected to increase even more. This is due to both kinds of railway traffic: freight and passenger transport. In the context of landscape fragmentation –especially the development of high speed traffic – will lead to new technical and ecological challenges.

The presentation will focus on the aspects of nature conservation based on the actual discussions about the decrease of species and loss of biodiversity in relation to railways. A three-dimensional view will be given on the different species which may be influenced by railway traffic:

Areas along the lines: Beside the positive aspects like railway lines as migration ways for different species (linking habitats) there are also negative facets like spreading invasive species e. g. In addition the railway embankments can be the final retreat areas of rare species – especially in urban and agriculture areas.

The cross section of track: While the migration of animals and plants along the railway lines is rather easy, the crossing of the track could cause a problem for some species due to the track construction and by passing trains. Some examples of the influence onto species and possible solutions will be given in the presentation.

Air space above the track: The third dimension, the air space above the track could affect flying animals due to overhead contact installations for the traction system and passing trains as well.

Beside the existing knowledge about the effects of fragmentation by railway lines there are still lots of open questions, which will be addressed to the audience.

Comments are closed.