Water quality benefits of perennial filter strips in row-cropped watersheds

Date
2011-12-01
Authors
Helmers, Matthew
Zhou, Xiaobo
Helmers, Matthew
Asbjornsen, Heidi
Kolka, Randy
Tomer, Mark
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Abstract

Nonpoint source pollution is an increasingly serious problem in agricultural landscapes, especially as growing populations intensify pressures on a fixed land area for food and energy, and climate change threatens production stability. Vegetative filter strips (VFS) have been demonstrated as a practical strategy in reducing soil loss and nutrient transport from agricultural land. While restoration of native grassland on agricultural landscapes would improve environment quality, however, this practice is not feasible across large regions where local communities depend on agriculture. One alternative strategy for erosion control and water quality improvement is the incorporation of relatively small amounts of vegetative filter strips in strategic locations within agricultural landscapes.

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