How effective are slurry storage, cover or catch crops, woodland creation, controlled trafficking or break-up of compacted layers, and buffer strips as on-farm mitigation measures for delivering an improved water environment?
Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB, UK
Environmental Evidence 2012, 1:12 doi:10.1186/2047-2382-1-12Published: 1 October 2012
Agriculture has intensified over the last 50 years resulting in increased usage of fertilizers and agrochemicals, changes in cropping practices, land drainage and increased stocking rates. In Europe, this has resulted in declines in the quality of soils and waters due to increased run off and water pollution. Fifty percent of nitrates in European rivers are derived from agricultural sources in the UK this value is as high as 70%, where agriculture also contributes to approximately 28% of phosphates and 76% of sediments recorded in rivers. Catchments dominated by agricultural land use have increased levels of pesticides and bacterial pathogens.
European member states have a policy commitment to tackle water pollution through the Water Framework Directive. An analysis of the effectiveness of water pollution mitigation measures should enable decision makers and delivery agencies to better facilitate catchment planning.
The aim of this systematic review is to assess the effectiveness of slurry storage, cover/catch crops, woodland creation, controlled trafficking/break-up of compacted layers and buffer strips, as on farm mitigation measures, for delivering an improved water environment.
The systematic review will consist of a searchable systematic map database for all the named interventions. Where possible, quantitative analysis will be used to assess the effectiveness of interventions.
Electronic databases, the internet, and organisational websites will be searched, and stakeholders will be contacted for studies that investigate the impact of the on-farm mitigation measures on water quality. All studies found will be assessed for suitability for inclusion in the next stage. Inclusion criteria will be based on subject, intervention, comparator and outcome. The details of included studies will be incorporated into the systematic map database, and studies scored for effectiveness of intervention and study design. Where there is suitable data available, meta-analysis will be carried out to test the effectiveness of individual mitigation measures. A report will summarise the evidence, highlight any gaps in the available research, and provide recommendations for future research.