Date of this Version
Forests 2017, 8, 138; doi:10.3390/f8050138.
Along with sequestering C in forest, trees on farms are able to contribute to greenhouse mitigation through emission avoidance mechanisms. To evaluate the magnitude of these contributions, emission avoidance contributions for field and farmstead windbreak designs in regions across the United States were estimated, along with greenhouse gas (GHG) emission budgets for corn, soybean, winter wheat, and potato operations. We looked at farming scenarios with large (600 ha), mid (300 ha), and small-size (60 ha) farms containing farmsteads built before and after 2000, and growing different cropping systems. Windbreak scenarios were assumed to be up to 5% of the crop area for field windbreaks, while emission avoidance for farmstead windbreaks were assumed to provide a 10% and 25% reduction in energy usage for space conditioning and heating, respectively. Total reduction of C equivalent (CE) emissions by windbreaks on farm systems ranged from a low of 0.9 Mg CE year-1 for a 60-ha farm with a home built before 2000 to 39.1 Mg CE year-1 for a 600-ha farm with a home built after 2000. By reducing fossil fuel usage from farm operations, windbreaks provide a promising strategy for reducing GHG emissions from agriculture in the USA.