Agriculture can have substantial negative impacts on the environment. The establishment and management of vegetated strips adjacent to farmed fields (including various field margins, buffer strips and hedgerows) are commonly advocated mitigation measures for these negative environmental impacts. However, it may be difficult to obtain reliable evidence on the effects of implementation and management of vegetated strips, even though a substantial body of evidence exists.

We describe a systematic map of research relating to vegetated strips in boreo-temperate farming systems to answer the question: What evidence exists regarding the effects of field margins on nutrients, pollutants, socioeconomics, biodiversity, and soil retention in boreo-temperate systems?

Hedgerows and other vegetated strips have crucial roles to play in agriculture, and in mitigating its impacts. This article reviews the knowledge base. Photo: Riishede / Getty Images.

The authors searched 13 bibliographic databases, 1 search engine and 37 websites of stakeholder organisations using a predefined and tested search string focusing on a comprehensive list of English language vegetated strip synonyms. Searches in Danish, Finnish, Spanish, and Swedish were also conducted using web searches. We screened search results at title, abstract and full text levels, recording the number of studies deemed non-relevant (with reasons at full text). A systematic map database of meta-data (i.e. descriptive summary information about the settings and methods) for relevant studies was produced following full text assessment. The systematic map database is provided as an evidence atlas: interactive, web-based geographical information system.