Maintain/create buffer zones

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Source countries

Key messages

  • One site comparison study in Australia found that a forest edge protected by a planted buffer strip had higher canopy cover and lower stem density, but similar understory species richness to an unbuffered forest edge.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A site comparison in 2008 in two remnants of complex mesophyll vine forests in North Queensland, Australia (Sonter, Metcalfe & Mayfield 2011) found that a forest edge protected by a planted buffer strip had higher canopy cover and lower stem density, but similar understory species richness to a forest edge with no buffer. Canopy cover in the buffered forest edge (approx. 90%) was higher than that along the edge with no planted buffer (approx. 75%). Similarly, stem density along the buffered edge (approx. 4 trees/m2) was lower than along the unbuffered edge (approx. 14 trees/m2). However, there was no difference in species richness of the understory between the buffered (approx. 1.3 species/m2) and unbuffered edge (approx. 2.4 species/m2). The 30 m wide buffer had been planted 14 years earlier and consisted of 80 different plant species planted 1.8 m apart. The surrounding area consisted of pastures and maintained lawns. The vegetation at each forest edge was sampled using ten 40 m transects, perpendicular to the buffer and the unbuffered forest edge respectively. Each transect contained ten quadrats (1 × 1 m).


    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Agra H., Schowanek S., Carmel Y., Smith R.K. & Ne’eman G. (2018) Forest Conservation. Pages 285-328 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Forest Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Forest Conservation
Forest Conservation

Forest Conservation - Published 2016

Forest synopsis

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation assesses the research looking at whether interventions are beneficial or not. It is based on summarised evidence in synopses, on topics such as amphibians, bats, biodiversity in European farmland, and control of freshwater invasive species. More are available and in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
Our Journal: Conservation Evidence

Our Journal:
Conservation Evidence

A unique, free to publish open-access journal publishing research and case studies that measure the effects of conservation actions.

Read latest volume: Volume 16

Special issues: Amphibian special issue

Go to the Journal

Subscribe to our newsletter

Please add your details if you are interested in receiving updates from the Conservation Evidence team about new papers, synopses and opportunities.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust