3D buffer strips: designed to deliver more for the environment

Friday, November 6, 2020

This report considers how we can improve the effectiveness of riparian buffer zones to help tackle agricultural pollution. The project assesses the effectiveness of traditional grass buffer strips and suggests ways that buffers can deliver more for the environment.

The study shows that more careful vegetation management, including tree planting and additional ‘engineered’ design features such as incorporating ridges, swales, and mini-wetlands, can capture and retain diffuse agricultural pollutants most effectively. Three-dimensional buffer zones (those that intercept pollution below ground, as runoff travels over the soil surface and then above ground in the vegetation canopy) maximise multiple environmental, farm business and public goods outcomes.

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