In the United States, there is a growing need for turfgrass management practices that protect community and environmental health. The proportion of the developed landscape in the United States covered by turfgrass is significant and, at present, covers at least 1.9% of the total land area and comprises 60% in parts of the country. As urbanization progresses, there is a critical need to re-examine turf management practices that reduce reliance on pesticide and fertilizer inputs while contributing additional beneficial ecosystem services. In this review, we discuss the functional role of turfgrass in urban ecosystems. We identify key urban ecosystem processes associated with turfgrass and evaluate the potential to integrate biodiversity into their design and management. Specifically, we summarize research on the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function theory that shows enhanced C storage, N retention, and weed suppression in natural and managed ecosystems, which are traits that are relevant to turfgrass systems. Enhancing biodiversity in turfgrass systems could increase ecosystem services in urban landscapes and should be considered a component of sustainable management practices.
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