Flower Meadows & Biodiversity at the JKU.

Demonstrating a commitment to biodiversity, the JKU is creating high-quality habitat on campus by adding dry meadows and a wetland biotope.

After the JKU Science Park was completed in 2021, the surrounding landscape was also redesigned by adding new meadows and a wetland biotope in an effort to balance some the land use and foster biodiversity. The dry and wet areas form a mosaic of plants, attracting various animals as well.

The JKU's location on the outskirts of Linz dovetails the campus with the surrounding agricultural area. Both of the extra-urban and intra-urban habitats are connected, which is vital when it comes to supporting animal migration and preserving genetic diversity. In this respect, the JKU also plays a key role as a "stepping stone" between an open cultural landscape and a more dense cityscape.

JKU employees support sustainability, including these types of  biodiversity initiatives, for students and campus visitors to enjoy.

The Office of Sustainability


Mag. Maria Buchmayr


0732 2468 3328

Dry meadow

near Science Park 2 and 3

Wetland biotope

near Science Park 4

The Dry Meadows near Science Park 2 and 3

Lean and dry? A 'garden of paradise' for bees, butterflies and grasshoppers

Ideal grasslands and highly species-rich habitats are becoming increasingly rare. Countless wildflowers in bloom are scattered throughout the habitat, embracing a diverse array of animal species; insects have grazing grounds and wild bees can breed in the loose soil layers.


Following completion of SP 2 and SP 3, a special combination of substrates was applied to create a new, hilly habitat in a low foot-traffic area. Depending on the time of day, the slopes get a good mix of sunlight and shade. Landscape crews added a species-rich mix of seeds, such as native grasses and herbs, and their unique maintenance concept makes this area a biodiversity hotspot.

The meadow is fairly low-maintenance. During various times of the year, gardeners work carefully by hand to ensure there is a continuous array of flowers and a variety of structures. Bird-friendly shrubs welcome a variety of bird species and the abundance of small animals in the area makes it a food source for birds as well.

The meadow supports a wide variety of plant species with different growth patterns, flourishing periods, and colors.

[Translate to Englisch:] Blumenwiese JKU Linz

A List of Plants

  • Large speedwell (Veronica teucrium)
  • Small flowered crane's bill (Geranium pusillum)
  • Shepher's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
  • Field polly (Papaver rhoeas)
  • Scentless chamomile (Tripleurospermum inodorum)
  • Carthusian pink (Dianthus carthusianorum subsp.)
  • Small burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
  • Meadow meagerite (Leucanthemum vulgare subsp.)
  • Yellow mignonette (Reseda lutea)
  • Jeweled rocket (Sisymbrium austriacum)
  • Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina)
  • Red campion (Silene dioica)
  • Black medick (Medicago lupulina)
  • Sainfoin vetch (Vicia onobrychioides)

Last update: 2022

The Wetland Biotope at Science Park 4

A nature-based approach to respond to climate change

The effects of climate change, such as drought periods and heavy rainfall, are clearly noticeable on campus, requiring approaches to retain and store water at the JKU. In this regard, practices to retain natural water have countless advantages, including releasing rainwater slowly into the groundwater and, with near-natural greenery, we can create ecologically fascinating habitats.

One such habitat has been created in a seepage trough in front of SP 4. The water level fluctuates, depending on the amount of rainfall, resulting in both very wet and dry phases throughout the year.  A number of special plant communities thrive in this kind of alternating wet site. Cooling effects can also keep a 'heat island' from forming.

Initially a lawn, the seepage trough was upgraded by planting tall, native perennials and grasses. It's not only attractive, but home to countless animal species. Wild bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders take advantage of the rich diversity, flowers, and seeds. Insectivorous vertebrates, such as bats and birds, also benefit from the small animals in the habitat.

[Translate to Englisch:] Feuchtwiese JKU Linz

A List of Plants

  • Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula),
  • Hemp-agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum)
  • Dusky crane's-bill (Geranium phaeum)
  • Soft rush (Juncus effusus)
  • Yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  • Broadleaf cattail (Typha latifolia)
  • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris)
  • Hedgenettle (Betonica officinalis)
  • Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium)
  • Hemp-agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum)
  • Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
  • Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum)
  • Water avens (Geum rivale)
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Last update: 2022

The wetland biotope is surrounded by various types of trees that not only visually enrich the space, but also serve as spaces for birds to perch on or use as part of their feeding grounds. In 2022, two bald cypress trees were moved from Pichling (south of Linz) to the JKU as part of a tree rescue operation. The trees are now at home at the JKU, having been saved from being cut down (see a press release by the City of Linz).

A number of different tree and shrub species, such as rock pears and Cornell cherries, further enrich the space and are particularly useful as, for example, a food source for insects during the spring.

Grassland Meadows at the Fire Station Areas.

In 2023, two fire department parking spaces located south of Science Park 2 and 3 were removed from general maintenance and converted to a bio-diverse scythe mowing field. Stepping stones connect the nearby bio-diverse areas (the wetland biotope and the dry meadow) and, in addition to serving as parking spaces for the fire department, it serves as a natural habitat, conservation area, and restoration space for plants and animals as well as a relaxing area for JKU employees, students, and local residents to come together.

Try your hand mowing with a scythe!

Volunteers are invited to try their hand at using a scythe to mow the area. This is a unique opportunity to enhance the environment right where you work, develop more of awareness regarding ecological issues, and acquire skills in landscape and biodiversity management.

Wiesennetz Univiertel, opens an external URL in a new window organizes the scythe mowing sessions and also provides the tools and instructions on how to use the scythe free of charge.

Häufig gestellte Fragen

Biodiversity implies a variety of life and includes species diversity, genetic diversity among species, and diverse ecosystems. Biodiversity has evolved over the course of the Earth's history and given rise to highly complex systems.

Biodiversity delivers indispensable ecosystem benefits. Biodiversity is the foundation of our food supply and provides raw materials, is essential for global economic development and, last but not least, serves as a model for innovation and advancements in engineering and technology.

Natural biodiversity ensures resilience and adaptability, especially in terms of ecosystem adaptability to evolving conditions (such as climate change). Biodiversity plays a pivotal role. The greater a habitat's genetic diversity, the easier it is for living organisms to adapt to changes. If species in an ecosystem disappear, these ecosystems then lack important building blocks, greatly endangering the delicate, complex system of interaction.

Protecting nature's diversity as a foundation for all life is a matter of survival. In this regard, the importance of raising awareness in the education system as to just how important biodiversity is cannot be stressed enough. Protecting biodiversity should be regarded as taking precautions to support a sustainable future; it is a cornerstone when it comes to using resources in a more sustainable way.

Insects account for over half of Austria's biodiversity. As part of an ecosystem, insects often work 'under the radar', playing a key role in nature as food for spiders and vertebrates, but also as pollinators. They're role is of key importance for human survival.

Along with many other animal groups and plants, insects are at risk not only in Austria, but around the world.In addition to exploiting animal and plant resources, introducing non-native species, environmental pollution, and climate change, we are losing biodiversity by increasing land use and fragmenting habitats.

Curbing the loss of biodiversity is one of the challenges of our time, along with the measures needed to stop climate change.

In order to preserve biodiversity, maintaining meadows regularly and in a reliable way is essential, especially in the long run and using a method that is safe for animals. Conventional mowing techniques using lawn tractors (which continues to be practiced predominantly in urban green spaces) is fairly incompatible with many plant and animal species' development cycles because mowing too often (plus the mowing process itself and, above all, handling and removing the cut grass) results in a constant depletion of biodiversity.

Cutting grass by hand using a scythe is a very viable alternative. The scythe has been used as a tool since the Iron Age, but as technology advanced and became more widespread, the skill of using a scythe to cut grass has been lost among the general population. The climate and biodiversity crises have shown that there is a certain need to re-discover the scythe and many people are realizing the clear advantages. The technique is emission-free, noise-free, easy to access, and animal-friendly.

Using a scythe to cut the JKU meadow areas not only protects the cityscape, species and the climate, but it is a sensible alternative to conventional mowing practices.

The JKU invites volunteers to actively take part in using the scythe. Employees can directly contribute to not only improving the landscape around campus, but also learning more about ecological relationships and managing biodiversity as well as, acquiring landscaping skills.

Wiesennetz Univiertel, opens an external URL in a new window organizes the scythe mowing sessions and also provides the tools and instructions on how to use the scythe free of charge.