Broadcast: October 1,
This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Soil conservation efforts protect
soil from wind and water that can blow or wash it away. Good soil
produces food crops for both humans and animals.
One important form of soil conservation is the use of windbreaks.
Windbreaks stop the wind from blowing soil away. They also keep the
wind from destroying or damaging crops.
Windbreaks are barriers formed by trees and other plants with
many leaves. Farmers plant windbreaks in lines around their fields.
They are very important when grains such as wheat are grown.
For example, in parts of West Africa, studies have shown that
grain harvests can be twenty per cent higher on fields protected by
windbreaks compared to those without such protection.
Windbreaks are effective when a wall of trees and other plants
blocks the wind.
The windbreaks should also limit violent motions of the wind to
those areas closest to the windbreak.
Windbreaks seem to work best when they allow a little wind to
pass through. If the wall of trees and plants stops wind completely,
then violent air motions will take place close to the ground. These
motions cause the soil to lift up into the air where it will be
blown away. For this reason, a windbreak is best if it has only
sixty to eighty per cent of the trees and plants needed to make a
solid line. An easy rule to remember is that windbreaks can protect
areas up to ten times the height of the tallest trees in the
There should be at least two lines in each windbreak. One line
should be large trees. The second line, right next to it, can be
formed from shorter trees and other plants with leaves.
Windbreaks not only protect land and crops from the wind. They
can also provide wood products. These include wood for fuel and
longer pieces for making fences. Locally-grown trees and plants are
best for windbreaks.
You can get more information about windbreaks and other forms of
soil conservation from the group Volunteers in Technical Assistance.
VITA is an organization that helps people around the world use
science and technology to solve problems.
You can contact VITA through the Internet at its World Wide Web
address, w-w-w dot v-i-t-a dot o-r-g.
This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Gary