The criteria for appointing the zone are of cause closely connected to the policy target. Knowing the policy target, the first step is to establish which areas that should be targeted to the buffer zones. This may lead to two types of buffer zones: zones changing the pressures on a location inside or adjacent to the zone, or zones changing pressures within the zone. In the former situation it is generally also useful to define the area outside the zone to which the pressures should be changed. An example of the first type of buffer zone may be a riparian buffer zone alongside a stream serving to reduce the erosion and loss of nutrients to the stream (see Figure 1). An example of the former type of zone could be a buffer zone along the coastline where domestic settlements are prohibited in order to secure the landscape.
As apparent from the two examples the specific location of the zone is of importance. The simplest way to designate the zone is to appoint an area within a certain distance of the targeted location. However, natural
conditions such as soil types, slopes, and the dominant wind direction (in case of airborne pollution) may be relevant to take into consideration when appointing the zones. This implies that more complex criteria for appointing the zone may be efficient. One example could be to design a buffer zone dependent on the wind direction frequency if the aim is to reduce ammonia depositions to specific nature locations. Another example could be varying the width of riparian buffer zones depending upon the erosion potential of the adjacent fields.
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