Retain riparian buffers on agricultural land
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
This intervention involves retaining buffers of woodland, forest or other vegetation along streams and rivers (riparian buffers or corridors) in agricultural areas. This may provide foraging and roosting opportunities for bats and maintain connectivity in disturbed landscapes.
To be included as evidence for this intervention, studies must have monitored a comparison, i.e. compared agricultural areas where riparian buffers have been kept intact with similar/nearby areas where riparian vegetation has been cut down or otherwise degraded. There must have been an active decision (i.e. intervention) to retain the riparian buffer and the study must state when the intervention was carried out.
For a similar intervention relevant to logging, see ‘Threat: Biological resource use – Logging and wood harvesting – Retain riparian buffers in logged areas’. For an intervention that involves planting riparian buffers to reduce pollution, see ‘Threat: Pollution – Agricultural and forestry effluents – Plant riparian buffer strips’.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, paired sites study in 2008 on 17 pairs of farms in Scotland, UK (Fuentes-Montemayor et al 2011) found that buffer strips along waterways on agri-environment scheme farms had similar activity of Pipistrellus species as the edges of waterways on conventional farms. The activity of common pipistrelles Pipistrellus pipistrellus and soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus was similar along waterways with buffer strips and conventionally managed waterways (data reported as statistical model results). On agri-environment scheme farms, waterways had buffers with tall, waterside vegetation and restrictions on fertiliser, pesticides, mowing and grazing. Each of 17 waterways with buffers on agri-environment scheme farms was paired with 17 waterways on conventional farms with similar farming activities and surrounding habitats. No details are reported about waterway edges on conventional farms. Each of 13 pairs of farms was sampled once on the same night in June–September 2008. On each of 26 farms, bat activity was recorded continuously from 45 minutes after sunset using bat detectors along transects 2.5–3.7 km in length.Study and other actions tested