The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association collaborated with the University of Guelph and a variety of researchers and organizations in Ontario and Quebec on a project to advance research on the role of riparian buffers in relation to carbon sequestration and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The project was coordinated by Dr. Naresh Thevathasan from the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph and included researchers from the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Sherbrooke University, Forest Environments Universal and Grand River Conservation Authority and the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.
Through this project researchers have investigated many interactions above and below ground in riparian systems. Key to this work was measuring carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions in riparian buffers. This included assessing the influence of tree species, soil type, age of buffers, vegetation communities and climate. Research also included investigations of microbial diversity and their influence on greenhouse gas reduction. One project investigated the fate of carbon inputs into water and riparian zones. Research was also done to quantify ecosystem services such as biodiversity and water quality in mature riparian zones.
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) worked together to connect researchers to agricultural producers with mature riparian buffers on their farms. The GRCA also surveyed landowners to share their experiences planting and maintaining riparian buffers on their farms.
This project was funded by Agriculture and Agri Food Canada through the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP).
Five videos were created to highlight the benefits of riparian buffers as a best management practice and to show the range and impact of research that is being undertaken on the role of riparian buffers in relation to carbon sequestration, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, and soil health.
On-farm riparian buffers provide a wide range of environmental benefits. Recent research conducted through the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program is uncovering a wide range of soil health and climate health benefits.
Video 1: An introduction to the climate benefits of riparian buffers
Waterloo Soil and Crop Improvement Association member Robert Shuh established a riparian buffer on his farm over 30 years ago to protect and enhance water quality. New research is showing added benefits to climate and carbon sequestration. Learn more about Robert’s story and the latest research on the carbon benefits of on-farm riparian buffer systems here:
Video 2: Carbon benefits of riparian buffers on farms
Wellington Soil and Crop Improvement Association members Liz and Reg Samis have seen the long-term water quality and conservation benefits since installing their riparian buffer over 25 years ago. New research is finding that on-farm riparian buffers provide benefits to climate change. Learn more about Liz and Reg’s story and the latest research on the long-term benefits of on-farm riparian buffer systems here:
Video 3: Long-term soil health and climate solutions of riparian buffers
Wellington Soil and Crop Improvement Association member Bruce Whale has planted over 15,000 trees in his riparian buffer to positively impact ecosystem dynamics including increased soil health and biodiversity. On-farm riparian buffers are also a climate solution. Learn about Bruce’s story and the latest research in on-farm riparian buffer ecology and ecosystem dynamics here:
Video 4: Ecology and ecosystem dynamics of farm riparian buffers
The latest research in riparian buffer systems is just scratching the surface. Wondering what comes next? Check out our latest video on on-farm riparian buffer research for climate solutions and other benefits.
Video 5: Research frontiers for agricultural riparian buffers