Strips of perennial crops planted to reduce wind stress on annual crops or livestock. These breaks can block a majority of the wind for up to ten times their height and increase productivity of downwind crops. This strategy is also used for reducing the impact of blowing snow, pesticides, odours and soil from wind erosion.
The effects of wind and water erosion on topsoil as well as forest clearance, indirectly reduce the quality and quantity of groundwater for the farming. In response to depleted water resources, dams have been used to improve water levels which has only expanded waterlogging problems.
Windbreaks reduce the effect of large farms on wildlife populations. They also protect crops from livestock trampling and attract birds for pest management. The outer row of trees in windbreaks can be planted with tagasaste or tree lucerne, which act as a fodder for livestock during drought periods.
Windbreaks enhanced biodiversity in an area by protecting both the flora and fauna from wind erosion and help restore the natural tree species which may have been removed from the area.
In one project in Southwest Australia a combination or water management drains built into contours combined with windbreak planting has produced excellent results. The trees are planted in a series of four rows on banks created from the drain excavation. 38 tree species were planted, the most dominant being Spotted gum (Eucalyptus maculata), Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo), Golden wreath wattle (Acacia saligna) and Tagasaste. Wandoo and Golden wreath wattles were planted in the middle rows of the windbreaks to provide nectar for birds and insects, and to create a more diverse wildlife habitat. The trees are advantageous for several reasons: they act as windbreaks; they protect crops and livestock against wind and harsh weather; the tree roots withdraw water from great depths to further reduce waterlogging problems, and the trees help restore biodiversity in the area by protecting the native flora and fauna in the area from wind and weather disturbances. These windbreaks also provide wildlife corridors throughout the area. This diversified approach to agriculture has enhanced the economic viability of the farm through an improved environment and restoration of degraded lands. Livestock carrying capacity has increased and more fertile land is now available for cropping.