Physical determinants of economic value of riparian buffers in an agricultural watershed

Zeyuan Qiu, Tony Prato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Economic values of riparian buffers in a watershed are evaluated by the changes in the net economic return for farming with and without riparian buffers when achieving the same water quality objectives. The simulated water quality impacts of alternative farming systems using SWAT and experimental data for riparian buffers are used in a mathematical optimization model to estimate net economic return for farming subject to a water quality objective. Physical characteristics such as stream length, channel slope, average land slope, cropland percentage and several soil attributes are identified in the watershed using ARC/INFO GIS. A regression model is then used to evaluate the impacts of these physical characteristics on the estimated economic values of buffers. The study is conducted in Goodwater Creek watershed, Missouri. The results show the estimated economic value of buffers is significantly affected by some soil properties, stream length, and cropland percentage in watershed and can be used to improve the effectiveness of riparian buffers at watershed and regional levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-303
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


  • Economic values
  • Modeling/statistics
  • Nonpoint source pollution
  • Physical attributes
  • Riparian buffers


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