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02-08-2021 | Issue 4/2021

Environmental Management 4/2021

Shelterbelt Management Practices for Maximized Ecosystem Carbon Stocks on Agricultural Landscapes in Saskatchewan, Canada

Journal:
Environmental Management > Issue 4/2021
Authors:
Beyhan Amichev, Colin Laroque, Ken Van Rees
Important notes

Supplementary information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00267-021-01511-9.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

There is a significant knowledge gap in the area of management of the vast shelterbelt network currently existing on agricultural lands in Canada and across the world. Throughout eight decades of shelterbelt planting in Saskatchewan, Canada, there are no available records of shelterbelt management practices used by land managers, such as herbicides (H), fertilizers (F), irrigation (I), or tillage (T) applications, collectively referred to as HFIT management. The main objective of this large-scale study was to quantify the effects of HFIT management on shelterbelt carbon sequestration for six common tree and shrub species. Field data from 303 randomly selected shelterbelts across millions of hectares of agricultural land in three soil zones were combined with existing shelterbelt carbon stock curves for Saskatchewan, produced by a shelterbelt carbon management support tool, Belt-CaT, to estimate site-specific total ecosystem carbon (TEC) stocks. Estimated TEC stocks and annual rates for HFIT sites were compared to the no management sites used as a reference. HFIT management increased carbon stocks for the majority of species, four of six, resulting in higher TEC at any tree spacing, mostly at higher suitability sites. However, HFIT management effects were not consistent across individual species, land suitability, or planting designs. The top three HFIT management combinations for hybrid poplar were IT, HIT, and HI, for white spruce they were FT, IT, and FIT, and only FT benefited caragana shelterbelts. The lack of management practices makes unmanaged shelterbelts more unpredictable and unreliable, in terms of tree growth and carbon stocks sequestration potential.

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