This guide is not a cookbook for design. Some of the guidelines reflect many years of research and are offered with a high level of confidence while other guidelines are based on limited research and reflect a greater degree of extrapolation to generalize them. There are still many gaps in our understanding of buffers and their ecological and socioeconomic functions and impacts. The planner must weave these guidelines together with first-hand knowledge of the site, the landscape, and landowner goals to create a design that optimizes benefits and minimizes potential problems.

Consequently, this guide should not serve as a sole source for design information but rather as a means to facilitate and communicate the design process. Additional resources, standards, and expert advice should be consulted as appropriate.