Landscape analysis in the East Link projekt an important tool for sustainable ecology

Landscape analysis in East Link projekt

The Swedish Transport Administration uses landscape analysis as a tool for project planning in order to accomplish sustainable ecology. In the East Link project, which comprises 150 kilometer high-speed railroad between Stockholm and Linkoping, the use of landscape analysis is playing and important part in the planning process.

A Landscape analysis can be made in various ways. In the East Link project the landscape is analyzed systematically in three steps, integrating a wide variety of specialists early in the process. Specialists studies the landscape, based on their expertise (1). This includes for example several GIS analysis analyzing wildlife movements, habitats and connectivity, multifunctional landscapes etc. supplemented with results from field inventory.

Noted values in the landscape is presented in a three-graded scale (2). All different values are then analyzed together, and a priority of the values are made (3). Different types of maps is used to illustrate the result.

The main purpose of the landscape analysis is to produce sufficient knowledge to enable sustainably solutions in the project, including avoidance, adaption and mitigation measures. When adapting to the values presented in the landscape analysis it is possible to avoid and minimize barrier effects and fragmentation. The knowledge can also be used to reinforce ecosystems and habitats; creating values when restoring areas along the railroad (embankment) and when handling safety zones without trees etc. The landscape analysis is also providing for a traceability, as a cause for where (and how) the railroad is located.

The process with an early involvement of different specialists working together, clarifies different obstacles for ecological sustainability in the project and extracts the prioritization of different aspects in the landscape.  Furthermore, specialists are working closely with engineers designing the railway, which integrates ecological sustainability in the construction. This strategy enhances a more efficient way of preserving natural habitats, functional ecosystems etc., as well as prevent retakes and unnecessary costs later on in the project.

Planning, barrier effect, ecological sustainability