GRASSROOTS

Biostimulation and indicators for integrated management of golf playing surfacesGolf course

GRASSROOTS was a proposal coordinated and submitted by Eco Innovation to the European Union Framework Programme 6. The proposal was not accepted at this time, although the evaluation was encouraging. Eco Innovation believes a revised version of this proposal has a potential for funding in the future.


Industrial objectives: to enhance the competitiveness of eco-innovative golf courses through the successful environmental differentiation of their services. To develop and test appropriate golf management practices and indicators of their quality.

Social and environmental objective: to establish environmentally sound turf management techniques acknowledging the soil life / grass relations. To promote those techniques through an appropriate dissemination strategy.


Abstract

Under pressure from policy and public opinion, golf is undergoing a 'green turn'. Golf groups specialise in green issues, including the European Forum for Sustainable Golf and the Committed to Green Foundation, backed by the EC Environment DG. Yet, environmental guidelines and accreditation for golf are still in their infancy. Although traditional pesticides are gradually banned, knowledge available on alternative solutions remains scarce. Furthermore guidelines focus predominantly on aboveground matters. Neglecting the relations between soil ecosystems and plant health is questionable because these relations and the functions they perform are essential.In this light, our project aims to develop 1) appropriate soil life management techniques enabling courses to improve their environmental quality, and 2) criteria specific to golf soils, enabling courses to establish credible information about their quality and defend this quality against imitation by competitors.The project will review existing environmental standards for golf and the literature on soil ecosystems including indicators and most effective biostimulants (WP1). Experiments will test the effects of two selected biostimulants in Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean sites on a range of soil ecology indicators (WP2). A carefully designed strategy will disseminate the knowledge gathered on the integrated management of playing surfaces and promote corresponding technologies and criteria (WP3).The trials will result in innovative commercial solutions that will enable greenkeepers to achieve higher environmental standards. Original indicators of soil ecosystems will help promote and protect the specific environmental quality of courses meeting those criteria. They will complement the accreditation system currently being designed by the Committed to Green Foundation. The project will contribute to the integrated management of golf playing surfaces and strengthen eco-innovators' competitiveness.

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