The golf course as a nature reserve: An evaluation of land use and diversity applied to ecosystem design
Many scientists believe the earth is undergoing the sixth mass extinction of species, this one fueled by humans and their activities. Throughout the biosphere, the loss of habitat as a result of degradation, fragmentation and pollution is a significant factor in the loss of the biological diversity that provides stability, resiliency and resources important to the earth's ecosystems. ^ Golf course development worldwide represents a significant land use issue, consuming more than half a million acres since 1987. Golf courses, often criticized for negative environmental impacts from habitat loss and chemical pollution, may serve several useful ecological functions in providing valuable habitat and conserving species if they are properly designed and managed. A goal of this dissertation is to evaluate the performance of other courses similarly designed and managed. ^ Two golf courses in southern Florida that were designed and managed as nature preserves were sampled for habitat diversity and bird species diversity. Each course was compared to a nearby natural area, a traditional golf course and a residential area. The heterogeneous landscape pattern associated with the golf courses, especially the naturalistic landscapes, tends to increase habitat diversity and in turn, bird species diversity, as has been shown in other landscapes by many previous investigators. ^ Golf landscapes, and managed turf areas in particular, require substantial inputs of fungicides, insecticides, fertilizers and water, some of which may become potential pollutants. Three golf courses in southern Rhode Island were surveyed for two years of input data to provide estimates for the planned “Kingston's Reserve” golf course. The sustainable design achieves approximately a 40% reduction by adopting this strategy. Through the use of cultivars with pest resistance, low nutrient requirements and tolerance to drought, inputs can be cut by another 5–15%. ^ Golf landscapes, offer many opportunities for conservation of species and restoration of diversity. When designed and managed properly, these landscapes can complement the ecological value of our natural lands. ^
Biology, Ecology|Environmental Sciences|Recreation
Barry Edward Devine,
"The golf course as a nature reserve: An evaluation of land use and diversity applied to ecosystem design"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).