This review summarizes how conservation benefits are maximized when in-field and edge-of-field buffers are integrated with each other and with other conservation practices such as residue management and grade control structures. Buffers improve both surface and subsurface water quality. Soils under permanent buffer vegetation generally have higher organic carbon concentrations, higher infiltration capacities, and more active microbial populations than similar soils under annual cropping. Sediment can be trapped with rather narrow buffers, but extensive buffers are better at transforming dissolved pollutants. Buffers improve surface runoff water quality most efficiently when flows through them are slow, shallow, and diffuse. Vegetative barriers - narrow strips of dense, erect grass - can slow and spread concentrated runoff. Subsurface processing is best on shallow soils that provide increased hydrologic contact between the ground water plume and buffer vegetation. Vegetated ditches and constructed wetlands can act as after-field conservation buffers"
Number of Pages
Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
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