Types of Buffer Zones and Their Function

Table 1 lists the most common types of environmental buffer zones described by their design and functions found in the international literature.

Zones with restrictions on land use or cropping technology on fields alongside rivers, streams, and lakes. Restrictions may imply a mandatory requirement of permanent grassland or no tilt from harvest until, e.g., April 1st. Primary function is to reduce erosion and nutrient losses. Secondary functions are to serve as habitats and establish connectivity between habitats.

Zones with restrictions on land use and mandatory rules of the future management. Primary function is to prevent new pressures within the zone and secure scenic views through the zone, e.g., by keeping the area free of domestic settlements or forest.

Zones adjacent to or within appointed habitats with restrictions on land use or other human activities. Primary function is to reduce external pressures on the wildlife and secondary function is to improve the habitat and establish connectivity between habitats.

Alternatively wildlife buffer zones can appoint areas where regulation of specific wildlife species is approved. An example could be a zone where predators such as wolfs feeding on domestic husbandry may be trapped or shot. Primary function is to secure domestic husbandry inside the zone and protect the predators outside the zone.

Buffer zones where ammonia emissions are specifically regulated around specific habitats. The regulation designated to the buffer zones can either apply to future changes in husbandry production, e.g., establishment of new stables in the zone, or to existing and future husbandry production. The primary function is to reduce the local contribution to eutrophication of the appointed habitats. A secondary effect is likely to be reallocation of livestock production to outside the zone.

Zones where in use of pesticides in general or specific active substances are prohibited. The zones are typically located along field margins adjacent to hedgerows, streams, and similar landscape elements. Primary function is to increase the conditions for wildlife by increasing the production of forage such as weeds and insects. Further, the pesticide free buffer zones will reduce the external pressures on the adjacent habitats due to reduced wind drift.

Table 1 Types of environmental buffer zones and their function Type Design and function

Riparian buffer zones

Landscape buffer zones

Wildlife buffer zones

Ammonia buffer zones

Pesticide free buffer zones

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