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Gold courses as wildlife refuge

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A researcher at the University of Missouri has co-authored a study that suggests, with a few changes, golf-courses could serve as wildlife sanctuaries.

Ray Semlitsch is a professor of Biology at University of Missouri. He says that about 75 percent of most golf courses is non-play area that space could be managed as potential habitat.

"I really think that a lot of golf courses could harbor more species, if the habitat were improved or maintained or conserved in a little better fashion on golf courses," says Semlitsch.

Semlitsch's recommendations include buffering aquatic habitats from chemical runoff, surrounding wetland areas with 150-300 meters of forest or natural grassland and creating diversity of pond types that mimic natural wetlands.

"It's a hard concept for people to understand, but non-permanent wetlands are more natural than permanent wetlands. Most natural wetlands dry for some periods of time, and the species that live in them are well-adapted for this," says Semlitsch.

"The natural drying process benefits amphibians and it releases nutrients from the soil. Maintaining permanent ponds actually harms biodiversity."

The study will be published in the January edition of USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online.


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