|Institution:||University of Saskatchewan|
|Keywords:||Shelterbelts; Prairie Agriculture; Costs; Benefits, Barriers to Adoption and Retention; Removal; Ecological Goods and Services; Policy; Soil Zones|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/10388/ETD-2014-12-1903|
The role of shelterbelts within prairie agriculture is changing. In the past, shelterbelts have been promoted and adopted for soil stabilization and their ability to protect farmsteads and livestock from harsh prairie climates. In today’s agricultural landscape advances in production technology, an increase in farm size, and changes to policy have changed the circumstances in which decisions related to shelterbelts are made. The objective of this research is to identify the costs, benefits and the barriers to adoption and retention of shelterbelts that influence agricultural producers and landowners’ management decisions related to shelterbelts in the Canadian Prairies. In the summer of 2013, surveys of producers and landowners from throughout the province of Saskatchewan (and several from Alberta) were conducted. Using the information collected in the surveys, the costs and benefits (both economic and non-economic), and potential barriers to adoption and retention of shelterbelts that influence producer’s management decisions were identified and analyzed. This research identified that overall shelterbelts removal is increasing and that there are many barriers to adoption and retention for agricultural producers related to the economic costs. In addition, it was found that many of the benefits of shelterbelts are non-economic and more difficult for producers and landowners to recognize within their operations. Going forward, shelterbelts have the potential to play a major role in climate change mitigation by sequestering significant amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into the soil and as biomass carbon in aboveground and belowground parts of planted shelterbelt trees or shrubs within the agricultural landscape. In addition, shelterbelts provide many ecological goods and services to landowners and society. In conclusion, understanding the context in which producers are making decisions related to shelterbelts within their operations is important from an agricultural production, climate change, and policy perspective.