March 12, 2019 Climate Beneficial Wool (Part 4): Windbreaks What is a windbreak? A windbreak can be any amount of trees or shrubs planted strategically around a farm to create a buffer against the wind. Beyond being just a simple windscreen, they provide a myriad of other benefits and play a crucial role in carbon farming. The most obvious benefit is a windbreak’s ability to offset strong winds that would otherwise add stress to the land and its inhabitants. Trees or shrubs lining grasslands, for example, help combat soil erosion by dispersing rain and snow evenly across the land, providing more moisture in the soil and a more comfortable environment for animals to graze. Having tree-sheltered havens within pastures also provide much needed protection from harsh weather conditions, especially for newborn and newly shorn sheep. Cover from the hot sun or a winter storm can mean the difference between life and death for animals out on the open range. Trees and shrubs also contribute food and habitat for birds and other wildlife that add to the biodiversity of a pasture. Creating a healthy ecosystem for insects, in particular, can improve the nutrients in the soil and thus the vegetation that sheep feed on. In addition to all of these wonderful benefits, windbreaks have an incredible capacity for carbon storage. Whether implemented on rolling grasslands or on a small farm, windbreaks are an essential component in producing climate beneficial wool. To continue reading about climate beneficial wool, check out our previous posts on the importance of composting, prescriptive grazing, a healthy riparian ecosystem.