The multifunctional roles of vegetated strips around and within agricultural fields


This project led by EviEM will collate, assess and systematically map research evidence relating to the primary question: What evidence exists regarding the effects of field margins on nutrients, pollutants, socioeconomics, biodiversity, and soil retention?


Agriculture 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. Vegetated strips (including hedgerows, field margins, buffer strips, beetle banks and shelterbelts) set-aside from the main cropping regime within or around a field are often used to mitigate these negative environmental impacts. Environmental managers and other stakeholders often need to make decisions about how best to design and implement these 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. The aims of this systematic map are to identify, collate, and describe relevant published research and provide a database of evidence relating to the effectiveness of vegetated strips in and around farmland for a wide variety of purposes, including but not limited to: the enhancement of biodiversity; the reduction of pesticide and nutrient drift/runoff/leaching; the mitigation of soil loss; the reduction of pathogens and toxins; and, socioeconomic values, such as provision of game habitat and reduction of crop pests. The map will be restricted in geographical scope to boreal and temperate systems (including arable, pasture, horticulture, orchards and viticulture) and will consist of a report describing the mapping process, a searchable database describing the identified relevant studies, and an interactive, web-based geographical information system (GIS) displaying the contents of the database.

For further information please see the EviEM website

The systematic map protocol can be found in: Haddaway NR, Brown C , Eggers S , Josefsson J , Kronvang B , Randall N, Uusi-Kämppä J (2016). The multifunctional roles of vegetated strips around and within agricultural fields. A systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence 5:18

This project forms part of the work carried out by the Centre for Evidence-Based Agriculture based at Harper Adams University


Funding Body

Mistra Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Management (EviEM)

Lead Organisation

Mistra Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Management (EviEM)


Harper Adams University, University of York, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Natural Resources Institute Finland

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