U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Washburn, B.E. and T.W. Seamans. 2013. Managing turfgrass to reduce wildlife hazards at airports. In: T.L. DeVault, B.F. Blackwell, and J.L. Belant, editors. Wildlife in Airport Environments: Preventing Animal-Aircraft Collisions through Science-Based Management. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, in association with The Wildlife Society. 105-114.


U.S. government work.


Multiple factors-including safety regul at ions, economic considerations, location, and attrae· tiveness to wildlife recognized as hazardous to avia· tion-influence the choice of land cover at airports. The principal land cover at airports within North America has historically been turfgrass. usually cool· season perennial grass species native to Europe. However, recent research has determined that, from a wildlife perspective, not all turfgrasses are alike. Some grasses are more palatable to herbivorous hazardous wildlife (e.g., Canada geese [Branta canadensis]) than others, and thus are more likely to increase the potential for wildlife-aircraft collisions when planted near critical airport operating areas. How turfgrasses are managed (e.g., by mowing or herbicide use) can also influence the degree of use by wildlife. In this chapter we (1) review the role of vegetation in the airport environment, (2) review traditional and current methods of vegetation management on ai rfields, (3) discuss se lection criteria for plant materials in reseeding efforts, and (4) provide recommendations for future research.

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