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Impact of field windbreaks on visual appearance of agricultural lands

Agroforestry Systems

Abstract

A sample of 1,500 farmers and 2,000 non-farmers were surveyed during 2005-2006 to examine the impact of field windbreaks on visual appearance of agricultural lands in Iowa, USA. About 73% of respondents indicated that field windbreaks diversified visual appearance of agricultural landscapes, Whereas 67% of these respondents thought that windbreaks made agricultural lands visually more appealing. An improved aesthetics of the area was fourth most frequently mentioned reason for planting field windbreaks reported by 21% of respondents. When compared to other windbreak benefits, however, improved aesthetics of agricultural landscapes was ranked as the least important windbreak benefit. Majority of respondents (50%) preferred groups of trees planted in straight rows followed by groups of trees nested between agricultural fields (23%), groups of trees planted in non-straight rows (20%), and single trees dispersed between fields (7%). Respondents preferred windbreaks that were tall, wide, long, and continuous. Most of them (74%) preferred field windbreaks consisting of trees and shrubs, whereas 69% preferred windbreaks in which conifers were mixed with hardwoods. Respondents who preferred groups of trees planted in non-straight rows were 5.0 times more likely to indicate that windbreaks improved visual appearance of agricultural lands than those who preferred single trees. Those who preferred groups of trees nested between agricultural fields or groups of trees planted in straight rows were 3.6 and 2.6 times more likely, respectively, to indicate that windbreaks improved visual appearance of agricultural lands in comparison to those who preferred single trees.

Author(s): Grala, RK; Tyndall, JC; Mize, CW

Journal: Agroforestry Systems

Year: 2010

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