Windbreak removal in Eastern Nebraska
Higher prices for commodities (maize, soybean and wheat) have meant more tree removal in Eastern Nebraska. Casual window surveys each spring have shown new piles of woody vegetation pushed out to make room for an additional few acres of crop ground. During the summer of 2012 in an effort to document the removal, we undertook a more definite survey of windbreak removal for the period 2003 to 2010. Using digital imagery from the Nebraska Spatial GIS Database, we compared 12, one mile wide transects across the eastern third of Nebraska. Each section along each transect was observed manually and compared between the two study years. A total of 1,514 square miles (968,987 acres) were examined. The total number of field windbreaks dropped from 1,994 in 2003 to 1,852 in 2010, a loss of 142 windbreaks or a net loss of 7.12% of the windbreaks in the study area. The total length of the field windbreaks removed was 34.8 miles.