Buffer strips and shelter belts

Alternative label: 
Field buffers, Hedgerows
Definition: 

Buffer strips are areas of natural vegetation cover (grass, bushes or trees) at the margin of fields, arable land, transport infrastructures and water courses. They can have several different configurations of vegetation found on them varying from simply grass to combinations of grass, trees, and shrubs.ᅠ Due to their permanent vegetation, buffer strips offer good conditions for effective water infiltration and slowing surface flow; they therefore promote the natural retention of water. They can also significantly reduce the amount of suspended solids, nitrates and phosphates originating from agricultural run-off. Buffer strips can be sited in riparian zones, or away from water bodies as field margins, headlands or within fields (e.g. beetle banks). Hedges across long, steep slopes may reduce soil erosion as they intercept and slow surface run-off water before it builds into damaging flow, particularly where there is a margin or buffer strip alongside.
- Based on Stella definitions, adapted by NWRM project experts and validated by the European Commission

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Last updated: 04 Mar 2015 | Top