U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center



Date of this Version

April 2006


Published by USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC), East Campus – UNL, Lincoln, NE 68583-0822. Website http://www.unl.edu/nac


Windbreaks are used throughout the U.S. to accomplish a multitude of objectives. Among these are the reduction of water stress to improve crop yield and quality, reduction of soil erosion, snow management, livestock protection and odor control, provision of wildlife habitat, and energy conservation around farmsteads.

If society is looking for places to store carbon, windbreaks are an obvious choice. Since a large number of landowners already appreciate the value of a windbreak for the many benefits listed above, many would be interested in discussing ways to get financial assistance for planting and maintaining a windbreak that was also designed to optimize carbon storage. The fact that many landowners have been motivated to establish windbreaks for their own purposes, suggests that these plantings would remain in place on the ground for a long time. While windbreaks are used for various purposes throughout the U.S., the following scenarios describe the potential for carbon storage in windbreaks in the North Central region. Due to the extensive agricultural land base in the North Central region, large amounts of carbon can be stored by integrating more windbreak plantings into the agricultural landscape.