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Ecological Golf Curses
Ecological Golf Curses
SUSTAINABLE GOLF CURSES

AN ALTERNATE SOLUTION TO LIFT UP THE COMPETITIVITY OF MEXICAN TOURISM DEVELOPMENTS
Eng. Aurelio Ahumada Rivera

Antecedents

Due to the tense and unstable international situation that we experienced during 2002 and beginnings of 2003, the tourism diminished considerably. For Mexico, this represented a smaller entrance of foreign currencies, loss of thousands of jobs, diminishment in the quality of life; less budget for health, education, social security, and of course for the environmental protection and conservation.

Cancun and the Mayan Riviera were a dramatic example: the hotel occupation descended at unprecedented levels during the 2002. Besides that, to maintain the entire hotel working force was impossible, and the tourist packages to these extraordinary destinations dropped down, attracting visitors of minimum purchasing power, not good for the local economy.

The Challenges

Today, Mexico also has to stimulate the national tourism and to add new attractiveness to its destinations in order to compete with the international market.

Besides new-model hotels, ecotourism, fishing, and SPA, one of the most interesting options is the Golf courses. The success of the Golf corridor in Baja California and other areas in Mexico are a clear example.

These main tourism developments have settled down in fragile coastal areas of forests, jungles, deserts, lakes and lagoons, among others, in which the good weather and the biodiversity beauty are unlimited most of the time.Due to this fact, the development of these new areas outlines big challenges to guarantee the sustainable use and conservation of the natural resources.

In Mexico and other countries, Golf courses have been criticized due to the environmental impacts, deforestation, substitution of local vegetation, lost of biodiversity, excessive use of water, pollution of aquifers and oceans with fertilizers and pesticides, among others.

It is more evident the increasing need for those new developments; however, the protection and preservation of the natural resources is imperative in order to achieve a truly sustainable development, besides the fact that the landscapes' beauty, the water quality, and the biodiversity, are key issues to attract tourism.

Combined Commitment:
Investors, Businesspeople, Designers, Authorities, Environmental Experts
In order to offer an equilibrated solution, it is necessary that the new Golf projects are designed and built within the strict execution of the environmental legislation, normativity and land use regulations, taking into account the prevention, mitigation and compensation of environmental impacts, from the first stages until the final construction and operation.
Thus, investors, businesspeople, designers, authorities and environmental experts must work as a team in order to achieve a top-quality Golf course in which the preservation of the environment will be accomplished, the tourism will increase, the economy in the area will rise, and the investors will win.

In this way, it is possible to create Sustainable Golf courses of excellence, avoiding the most significant environmental impacts and achieving a perfect harmony between development and environmental conservation.

Ecological Design The new Sustainable Golf courses are developed integrating the design with the conservation and sustainable use of the natural resources. In this way, environmental damage within the land and its adjacent areas is minimized, while construction costs and maintenance are reduced.
Each project design is based on environmental studies which are carried out in the property, in order to identify and protect the areas of ecological importance, and to take advantage of the biodiversity to integrate it in the design without destroying it (for example, the surface occupied by grass in a normal development is about 60 hectares; instead, we have reduced that area to 36 or less hectares, without diminishing the design quality, performance and beauty of the Golf course).

Landscape Ecology & Environmental Engineering

In order to effectively manage the area, a full environmental training for each participant is applied prior to the construction.

Flora and fauna protection, rescue, and recovering operations are also implemented, applying highly advanced methods of landscape ecology, reforestation, environmental restoration and environmental engineering.

The Sustainable Golf courses are built protecting the water bodies (mangroves, aquifers, others) and fragile areas such as important jungles and forests. A variety of certified coastal grasses are also used (which can be watered with brackish water and minimize the use of fertilizers and plague control products).

Environmental water treatment plants are also used for the purification and reuse of residual water.

Biological Corridors

In all our Golf projects, a series of biological corridors are designed in order to allow the wildlife to move freely between the water bodies and vegetation, even if there are players in the field.

Integral Environmental Programs

We also have created programs that guarantee the permanent environmental commitment of each project, which is at the same time, useful for the research and development of more environmentally friendly solutions and the sustainable use of the natural resources.

 
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