Airport Grass… Have you ever faced these questions while outlining your wildlife management plan? Here you will find a couple of tools that help you make this hard decision
First of all, you need to define what you mean by long and short grass. Lots of practitioners would describe grass at 20 cm as long grass, but many airports cut their grass short to 20 cm because of uneven terrain. Personally, I think short grass is <20cm, medium grass is >20cm and less that 50cm and so tall grass is >50 cm. 
Gary Searing, Executive Director – Bird Strike Association of Canada
When it comes to grass height, experts agree it’s an important tool as a wildlife hazard prevention strategy at every airport.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),  this is one of the most important points of a successful “birdstrike control programme” (in ICAO’s words).
The core idea for a strong programme is to identify high-risk species (Mackinnon et al 2004) and build your Risk Matrix, and then to establish a process of habitat and land management both at the airport and in its vicinity to reduce the attractiveness of the area to birds/wildlife.
But what is attractive for wildlife and birds? A quick answer may be “cut off all the grass and work’s done”. That’s WRONG. The attractiveness of vegetation is a balance between food presence, food accessibility, and protection against predators.
Short grass at airport
The plane takes off at the airport with short grass
And these three factors vary a lot for every bird or animal species.
Food accessibility depends on vegetation height and density. Long, dense vegetation will inhibit most hazardous birds/wildlife from moving around, detecting and accessing the food and safeguard themselves from predators by hiding or fleeing.
On the other hand, many species prefer to stay in the open space of short vegetation where they have a wide view to see predators well in advance to enable them to flee on time; and birds/wildlife feeding on seeds will avoid the airport if its vegetation is mowed during the flowering season.
Said so, in order to maximize the deterrence of local wildlife species, and the height and species composition of the vegetation should be managed to minimize food sources. Every airport should combine zones with dense and tall grass, medium areas and short ones. This is a hard and time-consuming task.
Vijay Gaonkar, Manager & Head- Wildlife Hazard Management at Mumbai Airport, agrees with our last paragraph:
Exactly, grass height should maintain as per species available at airport also to see environment conditions. We at Mumbai Airport maintain grass height according to season. In monsoon period we prefer long grass due species attracted for seeds as well as insects,  other seasons we are maintaining short grass in specific areas.

The Software Solution

At Eclipse we are very aware of this, so we develop a grass management and risk assessment tool built-in and ready to use.
As stated in this post, the first step is to build a risk matrix, identifying the high-risk species at your airport ECLIPSE WILDLIFE CONTROL SYSTEM automatically does this task, calculating the frequency, weight, and behaviour of species. Therefore, you can assign different grass heights from your Admin Dashboard and run the perfect wildlife plan!
  • Real-time map view
  • Select regions and assign grass height
  • Different colour for ease
  • Place work orders in no time
  • Risk Assessment 

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