APEX simulation : environmental benefits of agroforestry buffers on corn-soybean watersheds
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The Agricultural Policy Environmental Extender (APEX) model has the ability to simulate the effects of vegetative filter strips on runoff and pollutant loadings from agricultural watersheds. The objectives of this study were to calibrate and validate the APEX model for three adjacent watersheds and determine optimum buffer dimensions and placement locations. ArcAPEX and APEX0604 versions were used for the simulations. The simulated corn and soybean yields were within 13% and 27% of the measured yields, respectively. The agroforestry, grass buffer, and control watershed models were calibrated (1998 to 2001) and validated (2002 to 2008) for eventbased runoff with r2 and Nash-Sutcliffe Coefficients (NSC) values of 0.7-0.8 and 0.4-0.8, respectively. The models could not be calibrated for sediment losses. The simulated grass and agroforestry buffers reduced average annual runoff by 5.2% and 4.3%, respectively. Increase of buffer widths to 5.5 m and 7.5 m were not effective. The buffers located on the backslopes were the most effective for the agroforestry watershed but this trend was not seen in the grass buffer watershed. The study provides guidance on how to parameterize APEX to simulate grass and agroforestry buffers. It contributes to the validation of APEX and will be useful to scientists in need of parameterizing the model for watersheds that include upland buffers.