Assessing the local impact of windbreaks on reducing organic soil loss by wind erosion

S. Daeichin, J. Caron
In southwestern Quebec, wind erosion of organic soil is a major issue that negatively impacts crop production by decreasing the depth of fertile soil by 1 cm annually. Windbreaks can be an effective solution by slowing down wind speed, improving the local climate, and promoting biodiversity. This research examined the impact of natural forests and windbreak hedges on preventing wind erosion of organic soil. The height of the windbreak was used as the main factor in determining the protected area. The average soil depth variation rate was measured on both annual and seasonal basis. The study found that there is a significant difference in the average amount of soil loss due to windbreaks at the annual scale. The comparison of two types of windbreaks revealed that the windbreak hedge is more successful in preventing soil erosion, while soil erosion was higher in areas protected by natural forest than in unprotected areas. No significant difference was observed in the reduction of seasonal soil loss under the influence of different types of windbreaks. The annual and seasonal average soil loss maps show that the spatial distribution of eroded zones is influenced by the direction of the prevailing winds. In addition, there are specific locations near the natural forest that demonstrate the possibility of a higher risk of wind turbulence and significant soil loss. Our findings suggest that the use of windbreak hedges can significantly decrease wind erosion of soil, but it is crucial to pay close attention to local impacts. Further research on wind speed variations can provide more insights into the efficiency of windbreaks.
Daeichin, S. and Caron, J. (2024). Assessing the local impact of windbreaks on reducing organic soil loss by wind erosion. Acta Hortic. 1389, 321-328
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2024.1389.36
organic soil, wind erosion, windbreak, kriging

Acta Horticulturae