Do artificial water hazards on golf courses have as much biodiversity as natural wetlands?
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The number of natural wetlands in Wisconsin is decreasing due to increased development; however, by government definition, man-made residential ponds and golf course water hazards are considered wetland equivalents. If this is the case, we would expect that these artificial wetlands would have similar communities of aquatic life relative to natural wetlands. Three golf courses that contained both natural and anthropogenic water hazards were chosen for study. The aquatic macroinvertebrate community was sampled over a period of two months. Based on the Shannon index of biodiversity, natural wetlands tended to have a more diverse macroinvertebrate community relative to the artificial wetlands. However, artificial wetlands may develop characteristics of natural wetlands with age. Adjacent land use may also be a contributing factor to the diversity of artificial wetlands. Although the government definition of wetlands may be misleading, carefully designed artificial wetlands may provide some of the functions of natural wetlands.
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