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Scottish Biodiversity Forum

Scottish Golf Environment Group



Below are some ideas which you can consider now to increase the biodiversity of your golf course. Remember, in terms of nature conservation you can improve the situation for wildlife by undertaking actions directed at species, or at habitats which will indirectly benefit species:

  • Erect bird boxes of differing styles, in different locations around the course. Front holed, open fronted, bird of prey, bottom holed, side holed and owl boxes can all be put up, and have been seen to be very effective. This can also help raise golfers' awareness of the wildlife on the course.
  • Erection of bat boxes can greatly assist in provision of roosting sites. Bat and bird boxes are especially valuable in areas of single species, young or semi mature plantation woodland in which there are few other natural nesting and roosting sites.
  • When planting use a diversity of native species, including broadleaves. This will lead to greater invertebrate and bird activity within the woodland.
  • Allow decaying timber to remain in the woodland. Where safe keep standing dead trees. If necessary undertake management and create woodpiles of decomposing timber. This provides a haven for decomposers such as woodlice, beetles and fungi.
  • Design new planting with uneven edges, subtle contours and grading from tall species to edge shrubs.
  • Introduce wildflower plugs into new woodlands to speed up their aging and ecological establishment.
  • Ensure sufficient regeneration within woodlands. These will be your woodlands of the future as existing mature trees die off. Consider encouraging regeneration or underplant mature woodlands for future.
  • When planting allow for open glades within plantations. This will increase the structural diversity of your woodland and thus increase the diversity of wildlife.
  • In young plantations of single species, consider ring barking trees in safe areas to create standing dead timber.
  • Reinstate and manage hedgerows and dykes. Seek opportunities to create new features.
  • Avoid over-manicuring of the course. Study the course and identify areas where cutting intensity can be reduced.
  • Identify areas of wildflower interest and conserve through appropriate management.
  • Have detailed vegetation surveys carried out for the course and its surrounds. Mapping of habitats and identification of key species will provide information and understanding of the ecology of the course. This will enable you to make more informed decisions.
  • Avoid or minimise disturbance by people or vehicles in most sensitive areas of the course.
  • Manage gorse to maintain health and vigour in desirable areas. Removal of gorse and other scrub may be necessary in other valuable habitats, e.g., wildflower grasslands and heather.
  • Monitor the coverage of bracken, and control if threatening to other more interesting and important habitats. Remember, bracken can be a valuable habitat in its own right, and its control needs to be judged in conjunction with the provision of other habitats.
  • Deposit grass cuttings in least sensitive areas, away from open water and avoiding species rich grasslands, heather or woodland floor areas.
  • Establish no spray zones and buffer strips around water features and ditches. Minimum of 3 metres.
  • Enhance ponds by increasing the amount of native wetland planting around the margins. Possibly in conjunction with redesigning the pond edge, creating shallow shelves and gently sloping banks.
  • Create new water features in areas of poor drainage.





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