Major factors influencing the efficacy of vegetated buffers on sediment trapping: a review and analysis

J Environ Qual. 2008 Aug 8;37(5):1667-74. doi: 10.2134/jeq2007.0437. Print 2008 Sep-Oct.


Sediment is a major agricultural pollutant threatening water quality. Vegetated buffers, including vegetative filter strips, riparian buffers, and grassed waterways, are best management practices (BMPs) installed in many areas to filter sediments from tailwaters, and deter sediment transport to water bodies. Along with reducing sediment transport, the filters also help trap sediment bound nutrients and pesticides. The objectives of this study were: (i) to review vegetated buffer efficacy on sediment trapping, and (ii) to develop statistical models to investigate the major factors influencing sediment trapping. A range of sediment trapping efficacies was found in a review of over 80 representative BMP experiments. A synthesis of the literature regarding the effects of vegetated buffers on sediment trapping is needed. The meta-analysis results based on the limited data showed that buffer width and slope are two major factors influencing BMPs efficacy of vegetated buffers on sediment trapping. Regardless of the area ratio of buffer to agricultural field, a 10 m buffer and a 9% slope optimized the sediment trapping capability of vegetated buffers.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Fresh Water*
  • Geologic Sediments
  • Plants*
  • Water Pollution / prevention & control*