Riparian Forest Buffers

Forested riparian buffer system in an Iowa agricultural landscape.

Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Riparian forest buffers are strips of permanent vegetation, consisting of trees, shrubs, and grasses, planted or managed between agricultural land (usually cropland or pastureland) and water bodies (rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, wetlands) to reduce runoff and non-point source pollution.
Forest buffers are often planted in three distinct zones near an agricultural stream for stabilizing streambanks, improving aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and providing harvestable products.
– from Training Manual for Applied Agroforestry Practices.  2006 ed. Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri