Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 3–34 | Cite as

Effect of shelter on temperate crops: a review to define research for Australian conditions

  • I. K. Nuberg


The fact that the shelter created by windbreaks can have a significant, positive effect on crop production is supported by eight decades of research from many countries around the world. Although the concept of planting windbreaks to enhance crop production has general currency in Australia, the practice is not as wide as it could be. This review of the last decade of windbreak literature defines the research needed to encourage wider utilisation of windbreak technology. After outlining the principal mechanisms behind the effect of shelter on temperate crops, the review discusses relevant literature of the past decade especially that from Australia. The main mechanisms discussed are: the protection of crops from physical damage; soil conservation; the direct augmentation of soil moisture; and the alteration of the crop energy balance and plant water relations. Also discussed are the elusiveness of the shelter effect, competition from windbreak trees, and the modelling of windbreak systems. Suggestions for future research in Australia include: quantifying the competition of various windbreak species and the effect of root pruning on both crop and tree; a model of crop energy and water relations at the tree-crop interface; an economic model and a farmer-oriented decision support tool.

competition crop yield microclimate modelling water use windbreaks 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. K. Nuberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agronomy and Farming SystemsUniversity of AdelaideSouth AustraliaAustralia

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