Shrubbery buffer strip with bund [China]

Grass Buffer Strip

technologies_1544 - China

Completeness: 78%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Belts of shrub or grass, planted on the level bund which constructed along contour line in gentle slope farmland in the black soil region of Northeast China.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Shrubbery buffer strip with bund(SBSWB) is a traditional technology, it is introduced by the field staff about 60 years ago who worked in the farm in Heilongjiang province.This technology with low-cost, high effectives and easy to construct, which has been widely applied in all black soil region of Northeast China (Heilongjiang,Jilin,Liaoning,North of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region).

Purpose of the Technology: The final purpose of these buffer strips is increasing crop production by decreasing soil loss. More specific objectives include: 1)protect the land from surface erosion by cutting slope length, increase infiltration and soil moisture; 2)to prevent soil loss of gentle slope farmland by allowing excess runoff to filter through but trapping sediment; 3) through the effect of tillage and water erosion between the strips, level bund lead to the formation of forward slope terraces over time, then developing into terrace final;4) creation of opportunities for additional income by harvesting fodder(grass) production and fruits(shrub).

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: A construction is generally carried out in autumn of the year; plantation is made in spring of the next year. The construction in a man-machine integration mode is generally carried out step by step and from top to bottom along the contour line(s). The ladder-shaped cross section of a ridge is 0.3-0.5m in width (suitable width on the top), 0.5-0.6m in height, 1:1 or 1:0.5 in inner-side gradient and 1:0.5 in outer-side gradient.
In a construction, peel the surface soil with machine, with the peeling depth generally being 0.3m, which should be subject to soil layer depth; then haul the ridge construction plough (a kind of machine or device) with a tractor to build the ridges, consolidate the ridges through artificial slapping; Finally restore the surface soil to accomplish ridge construction. The tops of the constructed ridges should be maintained to be in a horizontal surface. The distance between two ridges in this region is generally stipulated to be 50 meters. The soil for ridge construction should be free from such sundries as gravels, tree roots and turfs.

Natural / human environment: Shrubbery buffer strip is found mainly in Northeast China, at altitudes between 700 and 1600 m. Climate there is cold in winters and cool in summers, with a monsoon moisture regime. In the area, the annual mean temperatures is from 2 to 8 °C, and the annual mean precipitation is from 500 to 1000 mm. Most of the farmland slopes are less than 7°but slope lengths mainly range from 200 to 1000m in this area.
Northeast China, the grain production base of China, or the bread basket of China, includes three provinces (Hei-long-jiang, Ji-lin, and Liao-ning) and the eastern part of the Inner Mongolian autonomous region. In 2009, 17.1% the China’s total grain production came from this region, which included 33.5%, 55.7% and 9.6% of corn, soybean, and rice, respectively. Approximately 118 million people live in this region. Grain produced per capita is over 1000 kg annually.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

The black soil region of Northeast China

Further specification of location:

Heilongjiang,Jilin,Liaoning,North of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • evenly spread over an area
If precise area is not known, indicate approximate area covered:
  • > 10,000 km2

This technique has been common applied in gentle slope farmland of the black soil region of Northeast China. It is very useful for reduce soil loss and intercept runoff.

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • more than 50 years ago (traditional)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • as part of a traditional system (> 50 years)
Comments (type of project, etc.):

SBSWB appear in the vicinity of Heilongjiang province in the last century 60's

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Annual cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • cereals - maize
  • legumes and pulses - soya
  • root/tuber crops - sugar beet
  • rice
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1

Longest growing period in days: 150Longest growing period from month to month: April to August


Main cash crop: soybean, sugarbeet
Main food crop: paddy rice, maize

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Beacuse of long slope, high rainfall intensity, freezing and thawing processes, and intensive cultivation has lead to substantial water runoff, soil erosion, and gully formation. Soil erosion has been the serious problem threatening agriculture sustainability in the region for decades.The flora of the area are very diverse.

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Soil fertility and crop yeild are decreasing year by year.

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed

Water supply also mixed rainfed - irrigated

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • cross-slope measure

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

vegetative measures

vegetative measures

  • V2: Grasses and perennial herbaceous plants
structural measures

structural measures

  • S2: Bunds, banks

Main measures: vegetative measures, structural measures

Type of vegetative measures: aligned: -contour

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
  • Wo: offsite degradation effects
soil erosion by wind

soil erosion by wind

  • Et: loss of topsoil

Main type of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Wo: offsite degradation effects, Et: loss of topsoil

Main causes of degradation: soil management (The extensive cultivation and management modes reduce the thickness of black soil layer by 0.5 cm per year.), population pressure (Great population pressure makes the land carrying capacity decline year by year.), education, access to knowledge and support services (The channels for the local peasants with low levels of education to learn knowledge are few, and they will not take initiative to learn knowledge.)

Secondary causes of degradation: over-exploitation of vegetation for domestic use (This area is the most important grain production area in China, there is serious excessive exploitation in this area.), change of seasonal rainfall (The rainy seasons mainly focus on July and August.), Heavy / extreme rainfall (intensity/amounts) (The downpours in summer bring about soil loss.), land tenure (As the lands are owned by country or by peasant communities, the peasants are not strongly aware of the importance of land protection.), poverty / wealth (The serious gap between rich and poor)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation
  • reduce land degradation

Main goals: mitigation / reduction of land degradation

Secondary goals: prevention of land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

The upper-base width, lower base width, height, slope ratio and spacing of a ridge are 0.5m, 1m, 0.5m, 1:0.5 and 40-60m respectively. A row spacing of the shrubs planted on the ridges should be 0.5m. Generally one row on each ridge is enough. About 80 shrubs are needed for every hectare; if herbaceous plants are planted, no special plantations are required.

Location: Chao Yang City. Liao Ning Province

Date: Nov 12,2012

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate (Field staff/agricultural advisor should have intermediate know-how level, because land user should be instructed by them)

Technical knowledge required for land users: low (The knowledge level of lander user is not required to be high, who just need(s) to follow the instructions from field staff/agricultural advisor)

Main technical functions: control of dispersed runoff: retain / trap, control of dispersed runoff: impede / retard, reduction of slope length, improvement of water quality, buffering / filtering water, sediment retention / trapping, sediment harvesting

Secondary technical functions: control of concentrated runoff: retain / trap, control of concentrated runoff: impede / retard, improvement of ground cover, improvement of topsoil structure (compaction), increase in organic matter, increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…), increase of infiltration, increase / maintain water stored in soil, water harvesting / increase water supply, water spreading, increase of biomass (quantity), promotion of vegetation species and varieties (quality, eg palatable fodder), spatial arrangement and diversification of land use

Aligned: -contour
Vegetative material: F : fruit trees / shrubs
Number of plants per (ha): 200-600
Vertical interval between rows / strips / blocks (m): 5.644-8.466
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 40-60
Vertical interval within rows / strips / blocks (m): 0.5
Width within rows / strips / blocks (m): 0.5

Fruit trees / shrubs species: caragana, lespedeza, amorpha, daylily, Melilotus

Slope (which determines the spacing indicated above): 5-8%

Gradient along the rows / strips: 0%

Wall/ barrier
Vertical interval between structures (m): 2.09-5.55
Spacing between structures (m): 40-60
Height of bunds/banks/others (m): 0.3-0.5
Width of bunds/banks/others (m): 0.5-1
Length of bunds/banks/others (m): >100

Construction material (earth): The soil should be free from such sundries as gravels, tree roots and turfs.

Slope (which determines the spacing indicated above): 5-8%

Lateral gradient along the structure: 0%


Zhao Mei, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):


If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Plant shrubbery autumn
2. Layout of contour and the line of SBSWB with the leveling autumn
3. Build the ridge autumn

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Layout of contour Person/day 3.0 16.0 48.0
Labour Build ridge Person/day 36.0 9.6 345.6
Equipment Machine use hours/day 1.0 80.0 80.0
Equipment tools day 1.0 8.0 8.0
Plant material Seedling Plant shrubbery ha 600.0 0.016 9.6
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 491.2
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 78.59

Duration of establishment phase: 1 month(s)

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. The farmers will actively protect the Bund in their land. Don't need money. autumn
2. The farmers will actively protect the Bund in their land. Don't need money. autumn

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)


Machinery/ tools: Spade, Spade

3 people are required to layout contour, daily labor cost for per person is 100 Yuan, so the total labor cost is 300Yuan ($48), tools fee is 50Yuan ($8).
One tractor can built 2.6 ha of ridges per day at a cost of 500 Yuan ($80). The ridges constructed should be artificially tamped, 120 people are needed to tamp the ridges in an area of 2.6ha, about 46 people for each hectare. As the daily labor cost for per person is 60 Yuan, the total expense on each hectare is 2760 Yuan($441.6), and the labor intensity is intermediate.
If shrubs are planted on the ridges, 400 shrubs are required for each 1 hectare management area. In addition, as the price of caragana microphylla in 2012 is 0.1 Yuan per one, the total cost of the caragana microphyllas per hectare should be 40Yuan($6.4).
Therefore, the total construction cost per hectare is 3650Yuan($584).

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

The most determinate fators affecting the cost is labour

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Agro-climatic zone
  • sub-humid
  • semi-arid

Thermal climate class: temperate

Thermal climate class: boreal

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • high (>3%)
  • medium (1-3%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility: high

Soil drainage / infiltration: good

Soil water storage capacity: low - medium

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

5-50 m

Availability of surface water:


Water quality (untreated):

for agricultural use only (irrigation)

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • > 50% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • average
  • rich
Individuals or groups:
  • groups/ community
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • mechanized/ motorized
  • women
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users

Population density: 50-100 persons/km2

Annual population growth: < 0.5%

5% of the land users are very rich.
45% of the land users are rich.
35% of the land users are average wealthy.
15% of the land users are poor.
5% of the land users are poor.

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • medium-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • communal/ village
Land use rights:
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • communal (organized)

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production


fodder production


fodder quality


animal production


wood production


product diversity


production area


land management


energy generation

Water availability and quality

drinking water availability


water availability for livestock


water quality for livestock


irrigation water availability


irrigation water quality


demand for irrigation water

Income and costs

expenses on agricultural inputs


farm income


diversity of income sources


economic disparities




Socio-cultural impacts

cultural opportunities


recreational opportunities


community institutions


national institutions


conflict mitigation


Livelihoods and human well-being


Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

water quantity


water quality


harvesting/ collection of water


surface runoff


excess water drainage


groundwater table/ aquifer




soil moisture


soil cover


soil loss


soil crusting/ sealing


soil compaction


nutrient cycling/ recharge




soil organic matter/ below ground C

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C


plant diversity


animal diversity


beneficial species

Climate and disaster risk reduction

emission of carbon and greenhouse gases


wind velocity


6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

water availability


reliable and stable stream flows in dry season


downstream flooding


downstream siltation


groundwater/ river pollution


buffering/ filtering capacity


wind transported sediments


damage on neighbours' fields


damage on public/ private infrastructure


6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm well
local windstorm well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood well

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly negative

Long-term returns:


How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

neutral/ balanced

Long-term returns:

very positive


Although Certain quantity of land will be occupied and grain output will be affected in SBSWS during the early period of a construction, in the long run, SBSWS can prevent the loss of the most fertile surface soil, in addition, with the ever increased quantity of the sediment intercepted by SBSWS and as the heights of the vegetational belts increase year by year, the slope croplands will become bench terraces, and the grain output will be increased.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):



80% of land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support

Comments on acceptance with external material support: Large-area popularization of SBSWB has been achieved in the locality.

20% of land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support

Comments on spontaneous adoption: The implementation of this measure was accomplished under the encouragement and support of the government. There are relatively few peasant households who initially take this measure. The main reason for the peasant reluctance to adopt this measure is that the ridges will occupy land and reduce arable area. They are unconscious of and do not care about soil loss, and unable to realize in the long run the harm brought about by soil loss.

There is a little trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: The trend depands on government support

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Convenient for construction

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Popularization carried on
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Gradual formation of the slope-type terraces, which can be developed into bench terraces many years later

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Increase of ridge height year by year
Intercepting the sediments carried by runoffs, preventing water and soil loss of the arable lands on the gentle slopes

How can they be sustained / enhanced? In combination with other water and soil conservation measures during operation, such as no-tillage and drainage ditches;
increase of infiltration

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Chopping down branches at regular intervals to guarantee that the plants on the ridges will not enter into rivary with the crops over water and sunlight;

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
The ridges occupy land and reduce arable area government support
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Reduction of arable lands brings about low enthusiasm of the peasants Conflict between the arable lands and the immediate interests of the peasants. Popularization of water and soil preservation knowledge should be strangthened to make the presants realize that although the immediate interests will be hurt, the long-term interests will increase.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Title:Techniques standard for comprehensive control of soil erosion in the black soil region Author:Shen bo; Meng lingqinYears:2009

Available from where? Costs?

internal materials

Links and modules

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