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Costs and benefits of erosion control measures in the UK

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2014
JournalSoil Use and Management
Early online date29/06/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Soil erosion is a key threat to ecosystem services. This study assesses the cost-effectiveness of erosion control measures based on an ecosystem services approach. The economic appraisal consists of an assessment (i.e. quantification and valuation) of the on-site and off-site impacts of soil erosion, and its mitigation, on ecosystem services. Many erosion control measures result in negative financial and economic returns. This explains why farmers are generally reluctant to implement erosion control measures without compensation. Based on the assessment described in this study, tramline management, mulching, buffer strips, high-density planting and sediment traps are the most cost-effective erosion control measures for agriculture in the UK. Contour ploughing also appears to be cost-effective, but this measure is not appropriate in all circumstances and therefore cannot be widely promoted. However, actual cost-effectiveness of erosion control measures will differ for local circumstances, and it is therefore advised that individual assessments are made at farm level or field level before recommendations are made to farmers.