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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

The multifunctional roles of vegetated strips around and within agricultural fields. A systematic map protocol

Haddaway, Neal Robert; Brown, Colin; Eggers, Sonke; Josefsson, Jonas; Kronvang, Brian; Randall, Nicola; Uusi-Kamppa, Jaana


Background: Agriculture and agricultural intensification can have significant negative impacts on the environment, including nutrient and pesticide leaching, spreading of pathogens, soil erosion and reduction of ecosystem services provided by terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. The establishment and management of vegetated strips adjacent to farmed fields (including various field margins, buffer strips and hedgerows) are key mitigation measures for these negative environmental impacts and environmental managers and other stakeholders must often make decisions about how best to design and implement vegetated strips for a variety of different outcomes. However, it may be difficult to obtain relevant, accurate and summarised information on the effects of implementation and management of vegetated strips, even though a vast body of evidence exists on multipurpose vegetated strip interventions within and around fields. To improve the situation, we describe a method for assembling a database of relevant research relating to vegetated strips undertaken in boreo-temperate farming systems (arable, pasture, horticulture, orchards and viticulture), according to the primary question: What evidence exists regarding the effects of field margins on nutrients, pollutants, socioeconomics, biodiversity, and soil retention?Methods: We will search 13 bibliographic databases, one search engine and 37 websites for stakeholder organisations using a predefined and tested search string that focuses on a comprehensive list of vegetated strip synonyms. Non-English language searches in Danish, Finnish, German, Spanish, and Swedish will also be undertaken using a web-based search engine. We will screen search results at title, abstract and full text levels, recording the number of studies deemed non-relevant (with reasons at full text). A systematic map database that displays the meta-data (i.e. descriptive summary information about settings and methods) of relevant studies will be produced following full text assessment. The systematic map database will be displayed as a web-based geographical information system (GIS). The nature and extent of the evidence base will be discussed.


Vegetative strip; Buffer strip; Filter strip; Buffer; Agri-environment; Agricultural policy; Mitigation; Agricultural pollution; Agricultural management

Published in

Environmental Evidence
2016, volume: 5, number: 1, article number: 18
Publisher: BioMed Central

Authors' information

Haddaway, Neal Robert
Mistra Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Management (EviEM)
Brown, Colin
University of York
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Josefsson, Jonas
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Kronvang, Brian
Aarhus University
Randall, Nicola
Harper Adams University
Uusi-Kämppä, Jaana
Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE)

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Other Biological Topics
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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