Spatial and temporal aspects of Saskatchewan field shelterbelts, 1949-98
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Between 1949 and 1998, the Canadian Government dispensed millions of trees to Saskatchewan producers for soil conservation and agricultural enhancement purposes. A dearth of literature discussing geographical patterns of use, and producer motivation for employing shelterbelts, has necessitated a survey of Saskatchewan's windbreak planting history. Official tree application records have revealed several spatial and temporal patterns of shelterbelt use. A primary band of high shelterbelt concentration extends between Saskatoon and Swift Current, while the eastern portion of the province shows significantly fewer field windbreaks. Province-wide use peaked in the late 1980s/early 1990s, although many notable regional planting efforts have occurred at different times throughout the study period. Caragana arborescens and Fraxinus pennsylvanica have proven to be universal shelterbelt species, while other types including willows and conifers are more geographically and historically restricted in use. Regional climatic, edaphic, and geomorphic characteristics, past meteorological and agrarian policy historical-contextual events, as well as high erosion risk agricultural techniques such as tilled summerfallow, have combined with social-economic and policy factors to influence landowner field shelterbelt decision making.