Date of this Version
From Wildlife in Airport Environments: Preventing Animal-Aircraft Collisions through Science-Based Management, ed. T.L. DeVault, B.F. Blackwell, & J.L. Belant (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).
Multiple factors-including safety regulations, economic considerations, location, and attractiveness to wildlife recognized as hazardous to aviation- influence the choice of land cover at airports. The principal land covet at airports within North America has historically been turfgrass, usually coolseason perennial grass species native to Europe. However, recent research has determined that, from a wildlife perspective, not all turf grasses 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 airfields, (3) discuss selection criteria for plant materials in reseeding efforts, and (4) provide recommendations for future research.