Extensive scientific research documents that vegetated strips of land along water bodies provide extensive water quality and other environmental benefits. The science shows that development should be kept away from the water’s edge, wider protected strips provide greater benefits, forested buffers are more effective than grassy ones, and forested buffers in headwaters provide the greatest benefits of all.
Biodiversity encompasses the diversity of life – the varying and different species, genes and ecosystems of the Earth. The ongoing loss of biodiversity threatens human well-being and makes the need for conservation ever more pressing.
Land trusts and governments may tailor their land conservation work to help both reduce carbon in the atmosphere and mitigate the harm of climate change.
Forests, riparian buffers, wetlands and other natural lands are essential for the protection of water quality and aquatic habitat. The loss of forests, riparian buffers, wetlands and other natural lands increases the amount of pollutants and sediment in water, alters stream flows, erodes stream banks, eliminates habitat for aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, decreases the replenishment of groundwater supplies, and increases the frequency of both flooding and periods of low stream flows.
A number of carbon offset programs are problematic. Nevertheless, it is sensible to ensure that newly drafted grants of conservation easement clearly permit offset projects (whether or not such projects ever materialize).
Extensive scientific research documents that vegetated strips of land along waterways provide extensive water quality and other environmental and economic benfits.