No surprise here! More natural landscapes of trees, shrubs and native grasses or even lawns which are not treated with chemicals and cut with gas-powered mowers are better at sequestering carbon of course. For lawns and athletic fields no rational person believed that CONVENTIONALLY maintained grass would sequester carbon. Grass DOES however release oxygen which is not addressed.
The press coverage of this study is very frustrating since many fields are now being organically maintained (Branford CT, Harvard yard, St. Mary’s College MD just for example) which could totally change the results of this study, but there is no comparison with or even mention of that simple solution to the problem of fertilizers and other chemical applications . Leaf blowers are not necessary and more fuel efficient and less polluting mowers are available. Many regions now require field irrigation to be by recycled or recaptured water (in Florida for example).
Grass Fields CAN be organic, sustainable AND durable:
See Branford CTs dozens of organically maintained, heavily used athletic fields :
and Harvard’s wildly successful organic turfgrass: http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=2530