Legacy effect of trees in the heritage landscape of a peri-urban golf course

Chi Yung JIM, Wendy Y. CHEN

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Negative environmental impacts of golf courses have received more attention than positive ecological contributions. We studied the mature tree communities and their legacy effect in a historical urban-fringe golf-course site in Hong Kong covering 170-ha with well-managed natural-cum-cultural landscape. Some 44.3 % of the site is covered mainly by large trees forming a mature peri-urban forest. The 94 species in 35 families offer a high species diversity exceeding local secondary and climax fengshui woodlands with notable rare and protected species. Tree species composition, richness and legacy effects brought by anthropogenic and natural factors were investigated by three habitats with varying naturalness and three golf courses with different age. Landscape zone is remarkably heterogeneous versus other microhabitats (fairway and woodland) and the heterogeneity of tree communities amongst the three courses is relatively weak. Synergistic operation of natural regeneration (natural legacy effect) and anthropogenic management (anthropogenic legacy effect) has fostered diversity accumulation. On the one hand, temporal changes in landscape fashion through a century and variations in site management have driven and maintained species diversity. On the other hand, the founder effect of inherited and cultivated species, as well as successful invasion and establishment of native species, have imposed floristic imprint and inertia on woodland habitat. The findings suggested that urban golf courses can serve as potential hotspots for biodiversity conservation within urban ecosystems. Copyright © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1717-1734
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Issue number4
Early online date28 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


Jim, C. Y., & Chen, W. Y. (2016). Legacy effect of trees in the heritage landscape of a peri-urban golf course. Urban Ecosystems, 19(4), 1717–1734. doi: 10.1007/s11252-016-0562-0


  • Golf course ecology
  • Legacy effect
  • Founder effect
  • Natural-cum-cultural heritage landscape
  • Urban ecosystems


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