Life LogoLIFE+ Project "Cross-border Protection of the Great Bustard in Austria – continuation"Logo Natura 2000

The “Great Bustard” LIFE+ Project was successfully finalised on December 31st, 2015

The main aim of the LIFE+ Project is the continuation of the successful concept of the LIFE Project “Great Bustard“ in Austria until 2015 in all of the four important Great Bustard areas in Austria. As in two project areas the main mortality factor and therefore the main population threat have widely been removed (transfer of power lines below the soil and marking of power lines, respectively), further necessary transfer of power lines below the soil and marking should take place, particularly in the project area Sandboden and Praterterrasse. This should contribute to a further long-term increase of the Austrian and the whole cross-border West-Pannonian Great Bustard population, respectively. Furthermore on the basis of bustard protection the unique value of the cultural landscape and the need for integrated nature conservation in the framework of Natura 2000 und LIFE should be continued to be communicated to the public

Implemented actions

In Burgenland and Lower Austria all together 50 km (51% more than initially planned) of power lines were transferred below the soil and existing power lines removed. Therefore larger power line-free areas were created for the Great Bustard by means of the LIFE+ Project.

Within the project 3.9 km of high voltage power lines were marked with bird warning flags.

The initial plan to remove parts of two shelter belts were not realised, since no displaying males were found in the area anymore.

Due to these actions and due to further intensive conservation efforts such as the competent support of the Great Bustards and the extensive habitat management, the West pannonian Great Bustard population of 403 in January 2010 was increased to 500 individuals in January 2015.

For maintaining living conditions and food supply for Great Bustards in Austria in a good state, an efficient cooperation of nature conservation with local farmers and hunters was required and will also be required in the future. At the moment around 550 farmers and more than 100 hunters are involved in the project.

As Great Bustards don‘t mind borders, an intensive co-operation between Austria and its neighbouring countries Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic was carried out within the LIFE+ Project concerning the cross-border protection of the West-Pannonian Great Bustard population. Due to the good cooperation the third LIFE Project by now was successfully started (LIFE 2015).

Project duration
October 2010 to December 2015

Project beneficiary
Österreichische Gesellschaft Großtrappenschutz (ÖGG)
Werner Falb-Meixner (chairman)

Planned project budget
4.508.481 EURO (of this 3.381.360 Euro = 75 % EC)

LIFE+ Nature and these actions target the conservation of endangered species and habitats based on the EU Birds Directive and the Fauna Flora Habitats Directive, respectively. The protected area network Natura 2000 contributes to the preservation of the animal and plant diversity in the wild and of their habitats all over Europe.

Detailed information on this project can be found here:

LIFE+ Projektinformation deutsch (pdf, 1,43 MB)

LIFE+ project information english (pdf, 1,43 MB)

LIFE+ Laienbericht deutsch (pdf, 2,45 KB)

LIFE+ Layman's Report english (pdf, 2,45 KB)

LIFE+ Technical Final Report (pdf, 959 KB)


Illustrated book “Die Großtrappe in Mitteleuropa. Erfolgreicher Schutz der westpannonischen Population"

Part 1: hardcover (1,2 MB)

Part 2: core (16,5 MB)


Detailed information about the scientific results of this project can be found here:

In September 2012 an article about the effects of underground cabling and marking of power lines on the West-Pannonian Great Bustard Otis tarda population was published in the scientific journal Bird Conservation International, volume 22, issue 03.

Citation: Raab, R., Schütz, C., Spakovszky, P., Julius E. and Schulze, C. H. (2012). Underground cabling and marking of power lines: conservation measures rapidly reduced mortality of West-Pannonian Great Bustards Otis tarda. Bird Conservation International, 22, pp 299-306 doi:10.1017/S0959270911000463

Bird Conservation International im September 2012 (pdf, 684 KB;

In June 2011 an article about the effects of power lines on flight behaviour of the West-Pannonian Great Bustard Otis tarda population was published in the scientific journal Bird Conservation International, volume 21, issue 02.

Citation: Raab, R., Spakovszky, P., Julius E., Schütz, C. and Schulze, C. H. (2011). Effects of power lines on flight behaviour of the West-Pannonian Great Bustard Otis tarda population. Bird Conservation International, 21, pp 142-155 doi:10.1017/S0959270910000432

Bird Conservation International im Juni 2011 (pdf, 81 KB;

Published articles by the TBRaab can be found unter following Link:


The LIFE+ Project LIFE09 NAT/AT/000225 is supported by the EU and the following project partners and co-financiers:


European Union

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EVN Netz GmbH
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Austrian Power Grid AG
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Nationalparkgesellschaft Neusiedler See-Seewinkel
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Amt der Niederösterreichischen Landesregierung, Abt. Naturschutz
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Amt der Burgenländischen Landesregierung, Abteilung 5 Hauptreferat III, Natur- und Umweltschutz
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Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft (BMLFUW)