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Agro-economy of tree wind break systems in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia

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Tree wind break systems are found in many parts of the world. In particular in windy and arid regions they help to increase crop yields and reduce crop water consumption. Due to these reasons, tree wind breaks have a long tradition in Central Asia and were strongly propagated there during Soviet Union times. After the Soviet Union had disintegrated and the countries in Central Asia had become independent, energy supplies from Russia ceased and fuel wood became the primary energy source for large parts of the population, in particular rural population. Consequently, most of those tree wind breaks were cut down for fuel wood during the 1990s. Now, governments wish to restore these systems, but many farmers are skeptical about the economic returns from investment in tree wind breaks. Against this background, this study calculated revenues, costs, and profits for tree wind break systems of poplars combined with wheat, barley, corn, alfalfa, cotton, and rice in Kyrgyzstan, based on interviews and field observations. Tree wind breaks with more than one row of trees (multiple row type) did not result in financial gains for most crop tree wind break systems compared to open field conditions, while single tree wind breaks were cost-neutral or resulted in small economic gains, also under different discount rates and revenues attained from crops and trees. Among the different grid sizes, the 200 m × 200 m grid attained the highest financial surplus compared with open field conditions and other grid sizes. Thereby, effectively it is recommended to establish tree wind breaks along existing field borders or irrigation ditches while keeping an average distance between tree lines of 200 m, in order not to impede farm operations.

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    Thevs, N.; Aliev, A. 




    agroforestry, agriculture, net present value, water management, irrigation



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