U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Published in Landscape and Urban Planning 93 (2009) 1–9.


Projecting risks posed to aviation safety by wildlife populations is often overlooked in airport land-use planning. However, the growing dependency on civil aviation for global commerce can require increases in capacity at airports which affect land use, wildlife populations, and perspectives on aviation safety. Our objectives were to (1) review legislation that affects airports and surrounding communities relative to managing and reducing wildlife hazards to aviation; (2) identify information gaps and future research needs relative to regulated land uses on and near airports, and the effects on wildlife populations; and (3) demonstrate how information regarding wildlife responses to land-use practices can be incorporated into wildlife-strike risk assessments.We show that guidelines for land-use practices on and near airports with regard to wildlife hazards to aviation can be vague, conflicting, and scientifically ill-supported. We discuss research needs with regard to management of storm water runoff; wildlife use of agricultural crops and tillage regimens relative to revenue and safety; the role of an airport in the landscape matrix with regard to its effects on wildlife species richness and abundance; and spatial and temporal requirements of wildlife species that use airports, relative to implementing current and novel management techniques. We also encourage the development and maintenance of data sets that will allow realistic assessment of wildlife-strike risk relative to current airport conditions and anticipated changes to capacity. Land uses at airports influence wildlife populations, and understanding and incorporating these effects into planning will reduce risks posed to both aviation safety and wildlife species.