Shelterbelts for MBFI Sites

Project Details

  • Project Lead: Kim Wolfe, Research Development Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture
  • MBFI Location(s): Brookdale and Johnson Farm Sites
  • Start Date: August 2015 
  • Status: In progress

 

Objectives

The objective is to demonstrate a twin-row shelterbelt and an Eco-Buffer shelterbelt.

Introduction

Shelterbelts provide many ecological benefits including reduced soil erosion, riparian area or shoreline protection, reduced odours from animal production sites, reduced pesticide drift, reduced greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere (carbon sequestration), improved water quality through filtering function, floodplain management, and increased biodiversity or wildlife habitat. Each of these benefits society as a whole as well as landowners.

Shelterbelts also provide many benefits in livestock pastures and calving areas. Reduced wind speed in winter lowers cold stress on cattle which may improve animal health and increase feeding efficiency1. Shelterbelts also protect the working environment in and around the livestock area as they also screen noise and odours associated with livestock operations.

Eco-Buffers (ecological buffers), designed by researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, are multiple rows of native trees and shrubs planted in a dense, mixed planting arrangement. The purpose of these plantings is to enhance biodiversity, conserve soil, protect water quality and sequester carbon. Eco-Buffers could be located anywhere a traditional shelterbelt would be planted or where a natural hedgerow may have existed. They can also be used to enhance existing natural hedgerows or to connect natural habitats such as a wetlands, riparian zones or wooded areas. In addition to their ecological function, Eco-Buffers could provide a source of wood and non-timber forest products (i.e. fruit, mushrooms)2.