BMP 11.- Implementation of field margins and buffer strips with diversity of plant species

Field margins or buffer strips provide semi-natural habitat for feeding, shelter and breeding of wild plants and nesting for small animals and birds, and are considered a valuable space for biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

Buffer strips can help prevent soil erosion and the transfer of agricultural pollutants from cropped areas to non-cropped areas.

Field margins and buffer strips can be included as Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) because they are not used for agricultural production.


Click here to zoom image

  • Management target
  • Sustainability Indicators


1.- Enhancement of Agro-biodiversity (enhance Habitats for birds; enhance soil fauna; increase fauna over the soil and edaphic fauna; enhance landscape diversity; provide ecosystem services such as pollination of crops, opportunities for recreation, …)

10.- Avoidance of contamination (local and diffuse)

14.- Slowing down of water flow

18.- Cutting off of pathways of concentrated run-off water allowing water permeability

19.- Protection of downstream areas by retaining and cleaning run-off water from sediments, nutrients, and PPP.


7.- Improvement in water quality

12.- Reduction of GHG levels

8.- SI – Satisfaction Index

The implementation of this BMP could have a positive influence on the farmer’s perception.

18.- Biodiversity surface area

Buffers could be a refuge for some species in which survival can be difficult in arable lands.

19.- Ratio between natural vegetation surface and total surface of the farm

Buffers will increase this ratio by making larger the natural vegetation surface (if this kind of vegetation is the one used in the buffer).

21.- Biodiversity structures (nests, hives, spider webs, etc.) – habitats

As buffers act as refuges, there will be an increase of biodiversity structures.

23.- NO3 level – rivers

Buffers will function as filters and will minimise the value for this indicator.

24.- Use of PPPs in some farms close to the water streams

By the placing of buffer strips in the margins of the field and in the surroundings of water streams the possible contamination due to the use of PPPs will be diminished in the water streams.

25.- GHG level

Plants acting as buffers are a sink for GHG.