A field study of the efficiency of vegetative buffer strips in water and soil conservation

Document Type : Research Paper



Vegetative buffer strips include a special plant being passed by the flow before entering the waterbodies; so, it causes runoff volume reduction, accumulated pesticides and other pollutants of the flow by infiltration, uptake and sediment deposition. The present study has been conducted with aim to evaluate and comparing the impact of vetiver grass, native turf grass of Sari (Mazandaran) and a combination of the two mentioned species on the efficiency of vegetative buffer strips in reducing the surface water pollutants including sediment, nitrate and phosphate. The experiments were carried out using 1×10 m experimental plots and producing artificial runoff with a flowrate by 1.65 l/s during a year. the vegetative buffer strips used in this study reduced the runoff volume by 35-90%, sediment concentration by 42-94%, nitrate concentration by 35-88% and phosphate concentration by 28-95% so that, all maximum efficiencies were related to the treatment of vetiver grass-turf grass. According to the results, the vetiver grass has a high efficiency in reducing and controlling the runoff pollutants; but, due to the probability of the creation of concentrated flow among the bushes of vetiver grass, using a resistant plant adapted to the region climate with a density and uniformity similar to the turf grass is recommended to make the flow uniform and sheet and consequently increasing the efficiency of vegetative buffer strips to reduce runoff volume and pollutants before entering the runoff to the surface waters. Also, periodic mowing of the plants is given as an effective strategy to deal with the role of vegetative buffer strips as the source of nutrients and sediment.


Main Subjects

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