Description of practice

A riparian buffer zone/filter strip is an area of land kept under permanent vegetation to help maintain soil and surface water quality. Buffer zones trap sediment and enhance filtration of nutrients and pesticides by slowing runoff that could enter the local surface waters.

Examples of how to use riparian buffer zones and filter strips Further information
(see Note below)

AMP30 01

Grass-covered riparian buffer strips

A grass strip is established along cropland waterways to prevent soil and nutrient losses and eutrophication of downstream waterbodies.


»WOCAT technology 1656

AMP30 02

Photo: Luuk Fleskens

Tree row and grass strip to sustain riparian zones

Tree lines with adjacent grass strips are planted to form a productive and protective riparian area retaining sediments and chemicals used on the field, preventing river pollution and stabilizing the river bank.


»WOCAT technology 1559
»WOCAT technology 1558


AMP30 03

Cultivation of bamboo

Bamboo is planted along the river bank to fix the soil with its deep and widespread roots and control soil erosion during the rainy season when there are high water levels and increased flow velocity.


»WOCAT technology 2251

AMP30 04

Vegetative filter strip

Narrow grassed waterways are installed on the edges of agricultural fields. Besides reducing sediment in storm water runoff, these vegetative filter strips also reduce surface water contamination.


»Wikipedia Filter strip

AMP30 05

Buffer zones

Agroforestry and multipurpose trees are planted in buffer zones to protect water bodies and wetland riparian habitats.


»WOCAT technology 1190

AMP30 06

Fenced natural waterways

Natural waterways are fenced in pasture areas. This is very effective at reducing contaminant loads by 10 to 90 %, depending on the nature of the contaminants and local situation.



Note: Most of the Further information links are to a full description of the example in the WOCAT database. However sometimes the link may be to similar practices or a research paper. Occasionally the link is to a commercial product in which case it should be understood that this does not imply any endorsement of the product by iSQAPER.

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