Landscape Impacts of Improved Agro-Ecosystem Service Delivery
Vegetated riparian buffer zones are a widely recommended best management practice in agriculture for protecting surface and coastal waters from diffuse nutrient pollution. On the background of the EU funded research project NitroEurope (NEU; www.NitroEurope.eu), this study concentrates on the mitigation of nitrogen pollution in surface and groundwater, using riparian buffer zones for biomass production. The objectives are to map suitable areas for buffer implementation across the six NEU study landscapes, model tentative N-loss mitigation, calculate biomass production potential and economic viability and visualize the resulting landscape changes. For the Danish NEU landscape, a detailed plan of implementation options is presented, taking into account catchment morphology and hydrology, land use and drainage, access conditions, land ownership structure and land owner profiles. Different scenarios are developed and visualized using maps, photography and artwork. The potential effects on the landscape N-cycle are discussed. Nitrogen removal by biomass production using forage or energy grasses, short rotation coppice willow/poplar or short rotation forestry with other tree species in buffers designed for local conditions could be a way of protecting water quality attractive to many stakeholders.