The efficacy of small-scale conservation efforts, as assessed on Australian golf courses

  • Published source details Hodgkison S., Hero J. & Warnken J. (2007) The efficacy of small-scale conservation efforts, as assessed on Australian golf courses. Biological Conservation, 135, 576-586.


This study investigated the efficacy of small-scale conservation efforts in influencing mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian diversity on Australian golf courses in south-east Queensland.

In Brisbane and the Gold Coast in south-east Queensland, Australia between 2001 and 2004, mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian diversity and environmental characteristics were assessed on 20 suburban golf courses. Sites were randomly selected from golf courses in the area that had been established for at least 20 years and were situated in flat lowlands with eucalypt vegetation unburnt for at least 10 years.

Mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian abundances and species richness was, unsurprisingly, partly influenced by characteristics of the surrounding landscape. Factors found to be especially important were the area of adjacent built land, extent of native vegetation and the number of connecting streams.

Their abundances and species richness were also associated with golf course characteristics, increasing with the area of native vegetation (all vertebrates), foliage height diversity and native grass cover (birds), tree density, native grass cover and the number of hollows (mammals), woody debris, patch width and canopy cover (reptiles), waterbody heterogeneity and aquatic vegetation complexity (frogs).

The authors conclude that, if designed and managed appropriately, golf courses could have a beneficial conservation role and can benefit ‘urban-avoiding’ wildlife in otherwise urban and suburban areas.

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