U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Land Use Policy 50 (2016) 1–16


U.S. Government Work


In recent decades, there has been increased emphasis on the protection of the aquatic environment. One of the measures to improve the surface water quality is to dedicate buffer zones at rivers, streams and lakes, where farmers are not allowed to plant, grow or fertilize. In 2012, riparian buffer zones of ten meters were introduced in Denmark. This study analyses whether: (1) the buffer zones add significant value in terms of open space for recreational use. This value is recognized by stakeholders; and (2) the buffer zones are enhancing aesthetic values of nature/landscape for those who live nearby. Methodologically,this study consists of qualitative and quantitative parts. The qualitative interviews demonstrate that most of the interviewees consider buffer zones to be a benefit to them, their organizations and institutions.Though the interviewees are aware of the political debate and implementation of the buffer zone areas,not many have made use of them due to the short time span between implementation and interview. In the quantitative part of the study, a hedonic house price study is applied in order to be able to generalize the findings and examine in more detail whether these stated opinions of the interviewed stake holders are backed up by the revealed preferences. In the quantitative study, we found a low and hypothetical impact of the introduction of the riparian buffer zones on house prices. However, it is interesting to see that the new regulation has shifted the attitudes of the citizens from a mainly negative one according to the media discourse to a more positive appreciation regarding our empirical findings.