Plant riparian buffer strips

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects of planting riparian buffer strips on reptile populations. The study was in the USA.




  • Use (1 study): One replicated study in the USA found that grassed riparian buffer strips were used by up to five snake species.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated study in 2003 of waterways in crop fields in Iowa, USA (Knoot  & Best 2011) found that over half of grassed riparian buffer strips were used by snakes. In total, 24 of 31 grassed riparian buffer strips were used by up to five snake species. Brown snakes Storeria dekayi (2.9 snakes/100 coverboards) and eastern garter snakes Thamnophis sirtalis (1.8 snakes/100 coverboards) were most abundant, followed by plains garter snake Thamnophis radix (0.8 snakes/100 coverboards), smooth green snakes Lioclonorophis vernalis (0.5 snakes/100 coverboards) and fox snakes Elaphe vulpine (0.4 snakes/100 coverboards). In May–August 2003, snakes were surveyed in 31 grassed waterways (>400 m apart) in crop fields (corn Zea mays and soybean Glycine max) that were established as part of the US government’s National Conservation Buffer Initiative. Surveys were carried out using wooden coverboards (0.9 x 0.9 m) placed along each waterway (4–5 coverboards/waterway, 150 total coverboards). Observers checked each waterway for snakes weekly (12 checks/waterway, 1,800 total coverboard surveys).

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Sainsbury K.A., Morgan W.H., Watson M., Rotem G., Bouskila A., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2021) Reptile Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for reptiles. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Reptile Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Reptile Conservation
Reptile Conservation

Reptile Conservation - Published 2021

Reptile synopsis

What Works 2021 cover

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