Scientific research

Forest field-protecting shelterbelts on rainfed land

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

Establishing forest field-protecting windbreaks provides optimum protection of soils and rainfed cropland from drought, dry winds and wind erosion, increases their productivity.

Brief summary of technology:

The head of a household established forest field-protecting windbreaks from a balsam poplar around the fields with spring wheat. Increase of productivity of spring wheat took place due to mitigation of climate dryness, preservation of the soil moisture and reduction of a wind erosion.

Planting of strips on non-irrigated farmland was made in early spring when root-forming capacity of plants is the highest, and there were favorable conditions such as optimum soil moisture, air and soil temperature.

The farmer used 1-2 years poplar saplings with a length of root system 25-27 cm for planting of forest strips. planting was done by special silvicultural machinery and manually. The planting material was obtained from neighboring forest field-protecting windbreaks during a period of loosing of plantings.

Strips were allocated in two mutually perpendicular directions.

The main strips were oriented perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction, and auxiliary strips perpendicular to the main strips with the purpose of reducing the influence of winds of other directions. Three rows of the main strips and two rows of the auxiliary strips with 3 m inter-row spacings at a distance of 2 m from an edge of the arable land were established. The farmer carried out 5-6 times of cultivation during the first growing period in inter-row spacings and 2-3 times of manual weeding, and during the next years the number of these measures was reduced.

The productivity of spring wheat was increased by 0.15 t/ha due to the established three-row forest strips, with yields of 1-1.2 t/ha.

Establishing forest field-protecting windbreaks is possible also from other tree species (maple ash, elm).

Location: Zelenobor village, Akmola province.

Area of technology application: 300 ha.

Stage of intervention: alleviation / reduction of land degradation.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

Low productivity of a rainfed arable land is caused by insufficiency of natural precipitation. Wind activity promotes development of a wind erosion. Soil moisture preservation and crop protection against dry winds is the main problem of the rainfed agriculture.

Main technical features of technology:

Improvement of soil cover, increase of soil fertility, decrease of soil erosion.

Type of land use Conservation measures

Rainfed arable land.

Cultivation of annual agricultural crops - Во(Ca).

Vegetation measures:

В1: Covered by trees and bushes (forest belts).


Habitat Anthropogenic environment

Average annual rainfall: 250-300 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 250-350 m.

Landscape: plain.

Slope (%): 2-5% (gentle).

Soil fertility: moderate.

Humus content in arable horizon: 2-3%.

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: moderate.

Size of land area (ha): 300 ha.

Landholder: middle/large size farms.

Land ownership: individual and state.

Water use rights: -

Market orientation: subsistence farming (self sufficiency), free market.


Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- technology is simple to implement;

- low cost;

- prevents a wind erosion;

- preserves soil moisture;

- increase of spring wheat productivity at 0.15 t/ha.

Main disadvantages:

Acceptance/adoption of technology: The technology of forest field-protecting windbreak can be used in the Central Asian regions where there is a serious issue of preservation of agricultural land from wind erosion.

Reference(s): Traditional knowledge in the field of land and water use. The information collection, Dushanbe, 2006. Published by the “Fund of support of civil initiatives” non-governmental organization of the Republic of Tajikistan, which was the member of the international network of NGO on coping against desertification (a RIOD network) and the coordinator of the RIOD network on implementation of KBO provisions in Tajikistan.

Contact information of the “Fund of support of civil initiatives” non-governmental organization: 73a-19, Shotemur str., Dushanbe, 734002 Republic of Tajikistan. Tel./Fax: +992 (37) 2215857.


Name of person (s) collected this description: Tatyana Hamzina, Chief specialist on soil reclamation studies and irrigation regime. UZGIP LTD.

Address: 44, Navoi str., Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Tel.: +998 90 9945654.





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