The objective of this work is the study of agro-ecological and agro-economic aspects of the forest protection of the field plain steppe area in the Kherson region.
As a result of this research, it is found that the potential level of wind erosion throughout all areas in the Kherson region is approximately equally high. These territories differ in initially limited availability of field protective windbreaks, the total area of which ranges from 0,7 to 1,6%, whereas, 4,0-5,7% is recommended; that is 3-5 times less than scientifically recommended for forest protection of the southern –steppe soils , and 7-8 times lower than forestation level recommended by Food and Agriculture Organization executive groups as a way of fighting desertification. The best functional preservation of protective windbreaks occurs in the Dnieper and coastal regions; and the worst one – in the eastern areas of the region.
In 2015-2018 years, a route survey of field protective windbreaks was conducted in the territory of the Kherson region. The total length of the survey routes makes 507 km which include 52,4 km of forest plantations with features of field protective windbreaks. During the study, the basic characteristics of the composition, functional structure and actual condition of field protective forest areas were determined.
It was found that the current condition of field forests in the territory of Kherson region is not satisfactory; up to 58 % of the forest areas are degraded that makes their function as wind protective field shelter absolutely impossible.
The study of the condition of the field protective plantations revealed that there is an urgent need for their intensive restoration. Evident local and ecological features of the areas of different districts require development of appropriate local complexes which combine precisely those measures and facilities that are optimal for fighting soil degradation. Examples of such complexes are the plantations based on short-term stubble-perennial plots, medium-term shrub-herbaceous bands and long-term forest-strip formations in a mosaic or frontal combination. Windbreaks in this system of small-scale locally-optimal field protection can play the role of the main ecological-spatial framework, according to which the formation of winter-spring air-barriers agreed in the system of regional field protection will occur every autumn.
During the field study, bunk 6-row windbreaks of fast-growing tree species (hybrid forms of poplar, white saxaul, elm, ash) were found which in combination with fast-growing shrub vegetation (lilac, pollen, upland cherry) can within 5 years form a sheltering “frame” of windbreaks, thus providing some wind-erosion and wind-protective stability.
Thus, to restore the protective windbreaks and increase their total area, it is necessary to determine locally the species composition and constructive features of field forestations which will be optimal for perspective plans of small-scale agro-ecological protection of the plain-field areas of irrigated lands of Southern Ukraine.
Keywords: agro-ecological grounds of optimum areas of field protective forest belts, field plain steppe massif of irrigated agriculture, wind-erosion danger, steppe forestation, field protective forest belts.