The controversial Rio Olympic golf course has had a positive effect on the biodiversity of the site, according to an official report from the Rio de Janeiro Department of Justice.
The report, carried out after an inspection by experts last December, was ordered by a lawsuit filed by state prosecutors. Local environmental campaigners have long criticised the golf course project, which was designed and constructed by American architect Gil Hanse.
The reports clearly states that the construction of the course, in the Barra da Tijuca area of Rio, has enabled the return of several species of animals to a site that was previously degraded. The study also concluded that the protected green areas at the margins of the Lagoa de Marapendi lagoon were not affected by the construction of the golf course.
“The environmental gain in the region is visible. Besides the flora, which increased extensively, we can observe the different species of animals that have returned to the area. The report now provides a scientific stamp to what we had already observed,” said Carina Flores, Rio 2016’s sustainability coordinator.
Among the environmental benefits in the report are a 167 per cent increase in vegetation, which led to a “positive cycle for fauna development”. The report also indicates that 263 species are found in the area now – before the construction there were only 118 species.
Previously, approximately 80 per cent of the total area was degraded due to sand extraction activities and deposit of cement. “The disfigurement of the natural environment that happened in the 80s and 90s led to an extensive area with no vegetation,” reads the report.