"Windbreaks are planned and managed as part of a crop and/or livestock operation to enhance production, protect livestock, and control soil erosion. Field windbreaks protect a variety of wind- sensitive row, cereal, vegetable, orchard and vine crops, control wind erosion, and increase bee pollination and pesticide effectiveness.
Livestock windbreaks help reduce animal stress and mortality, reduce feed consumption, and help reduce visual impacts and odors. Living snowfences keep roads clean of drifting snow and increase driving safety. They can also spread snow evenly across a field, increasing spring soil moisture. " -- U. Missouri Center for Agroforestry
The video above provides a good overview of the impact of windbreaks in food production in Western countries, like the United States. In tropical countries, like the Philippines, the devastating impact of wind comes during the rainy season (between July to November), the season when typhoons and tropical atmospheric depressions develop. With climate change however, there were recent years when tropical atmospheric depressions develop as early as January and all the way December. Regions of the country that were frequently visited by typhoons have been ravaged by typhoons the past few years.
Typhoon Megi (Juan). Apart from the catastrophic of impact excessive rain pouring within a very short period (as much as 500-600 mm in 24 hours), a typhoon barrels through its path with wind speeds exceeding 100km/h. On 18 October 2010, the supertyphoon Megi (Juan) hit the province of Isabela directly with one of the highest wind forces associated with a supertyphoon. At its strongest, the highest wind speed was estimated at about 295km/h (for 1 minute) and 230km/h (for 10 minute) before landfall. While the wind speed generally slows a bit at landfall, Typhoon Megi (Juan) was still quite strong, with enough wind speed to destroyed so many houses, infrastructures, trees, crops, other vegetations through its path. It brought as much as 500mm of rain along the path of the typhoon. However, because the people along the projected path of the typhoon heeded the early warning and massive evacuation advisory from critical areas, there were only a few human fatalities in the country. An estimated 600,000 tons of palay (rice) was lost in the Philippines. The lost for other crops and livestocks were not indicated.
The economic cost of Typhoon Megi (Juan) destruction along the path of the typhoon was estimated at about US$709million (2010); US$255 million in the Philippines. The estimate of damages in the Philippines seemed rather low and this may be due in part because the regions directly hit were mainly rural communities. Had Typhoon Megi (Juan) hit Metro Manila and the adjacent densely populated and urbanized regions, the cost of damages in the Philippines would have been in the tens of billions of dollars (even more costly than Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) and significant numbers of casualties.
Typhoon Megi (Juan) drastically changed the perspective of the people in Isabela. Since then, most (even the many of the poor) had their houses rebuilt with concrete (cement), iron bars and galvanized iron. Ironically, while the houses protect people from strong wind force during the succeeding typhoons since Typhoon Megi (Juan), the rebuilt houses are essentially hot oven habitats, in the region with very high relative humidity (75-90%) and very high temperatures; in 2014, a temperature as high as 40oC) was recorded in Cagayan Valley, where Isabela is located.
On a more personal level, one of the Cadu farms that we propose to restore in our EcoCulture projects, once had about a thousand fruit bearing rambutan trees before Typhoon Megi (Juan); less than a hundred of the rambutan fruit trees survived the typhoon. The extent of such damages (in remote rural areas may not have been included in the estimated economic cost of damages brought about by Typhoon Megi (Juan).
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