Action: Plant riparian buffer strips
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One replicated, controlled study in the USA found that planting buffer strips along streams did not increase amphibian abundance, numbers of species, or the ratio of adults to tadpoles.
Uncultivated strips of vegetation at the edge of waterways are often used to help reduce pollution entering the water within agricultural and forestry systems. These buffer strips therefore help to protect aquatic and semi-aquatic species.
Studies that investigated retaining riparian buffers are discussed in ‘Threat: Biological resource use – Logging & wood harvesting – Retain riparian buffer strips during timber harvest’, ‘Habitat protection – Retain buffer zones around core habitat’ and ‘Threat: Agriculture – Exclude domestic animals or wild hogs by fencing’.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled study in 2006–2009 of channelized agricultural streams in Ohio, USA (Smiley, King & Fausey 2011) found that planting buffer strips along streams had no significant effect on amphibian communities. There was no significant difference in species richness, diversity, abundance or ratio of adult frogs to tadpoles between sites with and without buffer strips. Amphibians were monitored in three streams with planted non-woody buffer strips (<15 m) and three without. Two 125 m long sections were established along each stream (average 743 m apart). Six permanent transects (25 m apart) were sampled along each section in spring, summer and autumn each year.