Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 186, Issue 12, pp 9011–9022 | Cite as

Cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis of BMPs in controlling agricultural nonpoint source pollution in China based on the SWAT model

  • Ruimin Liu
  • Peipei Zhang
  • Xiujuan Wang
  • Jiawei Wang
  • Wenwen Yu
  • Zhenyao Shen


Best management practices (BMPs) have been widely used in managing agricultural nonpoint source pollution (ANSP) at the watershed level. Most BMPs are related to land use, tillage management, and fertilizer levels. In total, seven BMP scenarios (Reforest1, Reforest2, No Tillage, Contour tillage, and fertilizer level 1–4) that are related to these three factors were estimated in this study. The objectives were to investigate the effectiveness and cost-benefit of these BMPs on ANSP reduction in a large tributary of the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) in China, which are based on the simulation results of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. The results indicated that reforestation was the most economically efficient of all BMPs, and its net benefits were up to CNY 4.36×107 years−1 (about USD 7.08×106 years−1). Regarding tillage practices, no tillage practice was more environmentally friendly than other tillage practices, and contour tillage was more economically efficient. Reducing the local fertilizer level to 0.8-fold less than that of 2010 can yield a satisfactory environmental and economic efficiency. Reforestation and fertilizer management were more effective in reducing total phosphorus (TP), whereas tillage management was more effective in reducing total nitrogen (TN). When CNY 10,000 (about USD 162) was applied to reforestation, no tillage, contour tillage, and an 0.8-fold reduction in the fertilizer level, then annual TN load can be reduced by 0.08, 0.16, 0.11, and 0.04 t and annual TP load can be reduced by 0.04, 0.02, 0.01 and 0.03 t, respectively. The cost-benefit (CB) ratios of the BMPs were as follows: reforestation (207 %) > contour tillage (129 %) > no tillage (114 %) > fertilizer management (96 and 89 %). The most economical and effective BMPs can be designated as follows: BMP1 (returning arable land with slopes greater than 25° to forests and those lands with slopes of 15–25° to orchards), BMP2 (implementing no tillage on arable land with slopes less than 15°), and BMP5 (0.8-fold less than that of 2010).


BMPs Cost-effectiveness Cost-benefit Agricultural nonpoint source pollution (ANSP) SWAT model 



This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41001352), the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities, and by the Open Research Foundation of the Pearl River Hydraulic Research Institute, PRWRI (No.[2010] KJ01).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruimin Liu
    • 1
  • Peipei Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiujuan Wang
    • 1
  • Jiawei Wang
    • 1
  • Wenwen Yu
    • 1
  • Zhenyao Shen
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of EnvironmentBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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