Environmental science and pollution research international

Riparian buffer zones as pesticide filters of no-till crops.

PMID 25744820


Several studies have pointed to the potential benefits of riparian vegetation as buffer zones for agricultural and industrial pollutants harmful to aquatic ecosystems. However, other studies have called into question its use as an ecological filter, questioning the widths and conditions for which they are effective as a filter. In this work, we have investigated the buffering capacity of the riparian one to retain pesticides in the water-saturated zone, on 27 sites composed by riparian buffer zones with different vegetation structure (woody, shrubs, or grass vegetation) and width (12, 36, and 60 m). Five pesticides were analyzed. The effectiveness of the filtering was largely influenced by the width and vegetation type of the buffer zone. In general, decreasing pesticide removal followed in this order wood > shrubs > grass. The 60 m woody buffer zone was the most effective in the removal of all the pesticides. Only atrazine was detected in this case (0.3 μg L(-1)). Furthermore, a linear correlation (R (2) > 0.97) was observed in their removal for all compounds and buffer zones studied. Thus, preserving the woody vegetation in the riparian zone is important for watershed management and groundwater quality in the no-tillage system in temperate climate.