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Meadow Seibersdorf with sign "The meadow lives".

Ecologization Seibersdorf


Eight hectares of open space at the traditional research site of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology in Seibersdorf are now being transformed into species-rich dry grasslands - a benefit for nature and for the employees on site.

At the beginning of spring, an extraordinary project was launched at the AIT site in Seibersdorf: Under the project title "Ecologization Seibersdorf", the traditional research area dating back to the 1950s is undergoing a fundamental transformation: Around eight hectares of green areas are now being turned into natural meadows, which will provide habitats for many native plant and insect species in the future. "On the designated areas, we are letting nature take its course, thus promoting biodiversity and, in turn, climate protection," explains Alexander Svejkovsky, AIT Head of Finance & Controlling. In addition to the ecological benefits, there is also a positive economic component: Additional costs for maintenance are saved.

Biodiversity and climate protection

The soil at the Seibersdorf site has the conditions for the dry stonefield grassland typical of the region. Dry grasslands are very species-rich and have a high proportion of flowering plants. Present on site are for example: Carthusian carnation, tumbleweed sage, heath dandelion, true bedstraw, and horn clover. Insect hotels will provide additional incentives for species such as bees and butterflies. In order for the species-rich dry grasslands to fully develop their ecological and aesthetic effect, special maintenance measures must be implemented. These include mowing only once or twice a year and removing the mown material. The areas are not fertilized or irrigated, and they are checked annually for neophytes whose seeds could fly in from outside. In the first years there is a biological-professional monitoring and determination of the mowing dates and development of the vegetation. All these measures are aimed at ensuring that the dry grassland retains its vitality and can perform its important ecological function. Nature can take the time it needs. This year, the first bloomers could already be observed, and in the following years, the green areas will steadily gain in blooming splendor.

Flower with purple flowers in foreground and a lot of greenery

Steppe Sage (Salvia nemorosa) With its magnificent purple flowers and bracts in inflorescence, the Steppe Sage is one of the most striking plants in the Pannonian region. Steppe sage is not popular with grazing animals due to its heavy hairiness and odor. If not mowed too early, it can sprout again after mowing and bloom a second time. © Alexander Mrkvicka

Recreational oases at the site

But it is not only nature that benefits from the greening of the open spaces: Employees at the Seibersdorf site also benefit from the diverse nature of the redesigned green spaces, which provide them with rest and recreation zones right next to their own workplaces. An important prerequisite for this is a respectful, prudent approach to flora and fauna. 

Sustainability and responsible use of resources are a central part of AIT's self-image and are reflected in all areas - from the research focus on decarbonization solutions and sustainable procurement to environmentally and resource-friendly building and laboratory development. With the project "Ecologization Seibersdorf", the first essential steps towards more climate protection through biodiversity are now being taken at the company sites themselves. 

AIT is part of a landscape network

Professional partner in the project implementation is the Landscape Conservation Association Thermenlinie-Wienerwald-Wiener Becken (https://landschaftspflegeverein.at/). With the green spaces at its Seibersdorf site, the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology is part of a regional network of valuable natural areas in the Thermenlinie-Vienna Woods-Vienna Basin region. The goal of the network is an insect-friendly landscape in which there is a colorful, flowering natural oasis at least every 300 meters, where wild bees, butterflies and the like can find a habitat and food. 300 meters is the distance that even small wild bee species can still cover. At the same time, intact habitats are important carbon dioxide stores and are more stable against disturbances. Currently, the network covers 144 hectares in 25 communities. 

"I am very pleased that we are literally bringing this beautiful and important project to bloom, and in this context I would like to express my sincere thanks to all project staff for their commitment," says Svejkovsky.

Two black butterflies with red dots and a cocoon

Six-spotted Widow (Zygaena filipendulae) In dry grasslands and rough pastures, the strikingly colored six-spotted widows visit flowers during the day from June to August. They show predators like birds with their colors that they are poisonous. Their body fluids contain prussic acid compounds. © Alexander Mrkvicka