Impacts of different vegetation in riparian buffer strips on runoff and sediment loss

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Dunn, R. M., Hawkins, J. M. B., Blackwell, M. S. A., Zhang, Y. and Collins, A. L. 2022. Impacts of different vegetation in riparian buffer strips on runoff and sediment loss. Hydrological Processes. 36 (11), p. e14733. https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.14733

AuthorsDunn, R. M., Hawkins, J. M. B., Blackwell, M. S. A., Zhang, Y. and Collins, A. L.
Abstract

Buffer strips continue to feature in the management of agricultural runoff and water pollution in many countries. Existing research has explored their efficacy for reducing environmental problems in different geoclimatic settings but, the evidence on the efficacy of different vegetation treatments is less abundant than that for other buffer strip characteristics, including width, and is more contradictory in nature. With policy targets for various environmental outcomes including water or air quality and net zero pointing to the need for conversion of agricultural land, the need for robust experimental evidence on the relative benefits of different vegetation types in buffer strips is now renewed. Our experiment used a replicated plot scale facility to compare the efficacy of 12 m wide buffer strips for controlling runoff and suspended sediment loss during 15 sampled storms spanning 2017–2020. The buffer strips comprised three vegetation treatments: a deep rooting grass (Festulolium cv. Prior), a short rotation coppice willow and native broadleaved woodland trees. Over the duration of the monitoring period, reductions in total runoff, compared with the experimental control, were in the order: willow buffer strips (49%); deciduous woodland buffer strips (46%); grass buffer strips (33%). The corresponding reductions in suspended sediment loss, relative to the experimental control, were ordered: willow buffer strips (44%) > deciduous woodland buffer strips (30%) > grass buffer strips (29%). Given the 3-year duration of our new dataset, our results should be seen as providing evidence on the impacts during the establishment phase of the treatments.

KeywordsErosion; Flooding; Riparian buffers; Vegetation management; Water quality
Year of Publication2022
JournalHydrological Processes
Journal citation36 (11), p. e14733
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.14733
Web address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.14733
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeImpacts of different vegetation in riparian buffer strips on hydrology and water quality
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online14 Oct 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted06 Oct 2022
PublisherWiley
ISSN0885-6087

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