The Role of Turfgrasses in Environmental Protection and Their Benefits to Humans
- James B Beard * and
- Robert L. Green
Turfgrasses have been utilized by humans to enhance their environment for more than 10 centuries. The complexity and comprehensiveness of these environmental benefits that improve our quality-of-life are just now being quantitatively documented through research. Turfgrass benefits may be divided into (i) functional, (ii) recrcational, and (iii) aesthetic components. Specific functional benefits include: excellent soil erosion control and dust stabilization thereby protecting a vital soil resource; improved recharge and quality protection of groundwater, plus flood control; enhanced entrapment and biodegradation of synthetic organic compounds; soil improvement that includes CO2 conversion; accelerated restoration of disturbed soils; substantial urban heat dissipation-temperature moderation; reduced noise, glare, and visual pollution problems; decreased noxious pests and allergy-related pollens; safety in vehicle operation on roadsides and engine longevity on airfields; lowered fire hazard via open, green turfed firebreaks; and improved security of sensitive installations provided by high visibility zones. The recrcational benefits include a low-cost surface for outdoor sport and leisure activities, enhanced physical health of participants, and a unique low-cost cushion against personal impact injuries. The aesthetic benefits include enhanced beauty and attractiveness; a complimentary relationship to the total landscape ecosystem of flowers, shrubs and trees; improved mental health with a positive therapeutic impact, social harmony and stability; improved work productivity; and an overall better quality-of-life, especially in densely populated urban areas.
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