This training series provides an introduction to the knowledge, skills, and abilities to plan, design, and install Windbreaks and Shelterbelts (CPS380). Additional training may be needed.

Practice Specific


Training Type
Online Learning

United States


1. Knowledge of windbreak/shelterbelt design and function, including snow management if applicable

Title Description
Introduction to Agroforestry Systems Participants will learn about the five recognized agroforestry practices: Windbreaks, Alleycropping, Silvopasture, Forest Farming and Riparian. (Time: 00:58)
Multifunctional Shelterbelts: Considerations and Designs for Ecobuffers and Ecologically-based Farming Mark Wonneck and Gary Bank  of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada discuss the benefits, functions and design considerations for woody vegetation "eco-buffers" that provide ecosystem services for agriculture.
Pollinator Friendly Multi-functional Windbreak Design Mark Wonneck, of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada discusses the habitat requirements for pollinator species and how they can be considered and incorporated into the design of windbreaks.
Blowing Snow Control Tools University of Minnesota resources for design of Living Snow Fences.  This site includes a design tool, a video on how to run the design tool,  a cost benefit tool, and a video on how to use it plus many videos on the variations and benefits of snow fences for preventing snow drifts on roads.


2. Knowledge of forest ecology and management for the local area

  • In person training
  • On the Job Training


3. Knowledge of crops protected by windbreaks and shelterbelts


4. Knowledge of silvics of tree species to be established

Title Description
NPC Silviculture Strategies for Forest Stand Prescriptions

The Division of Forestry has developed silviculture strategies to inform sustainable forest management in Minnesota. These documents include information on the following key elements for each native plant community (NPC) class:

  • Vegetation, structure, and composition
  • Landscape setting and soils
  • Tree suitability
  • Tree response to climate change
  • Tree establishment and recruitment
  • Stand dynamics and growth stages
  • 2-page silvicultural strategies for each major natural disturbance agent
Emulating Forest Disturbance with Silviculture The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a Forest Ecology and Management course focused on advancing knowledge and skills for USFWS biologists, foresters and others who manage forests on refuges or partner lands to meet wildlife habitat needs and objectives. This webinar is an overview of the course which is designed to introduce biologists and others to the concepts of forest disturbance ecology, basic silvicultural approaches and the design of silvicultural prescriptions that will either emulate conditions more typical of natural disturbances or meet the needs for a particular set of species. The course covers field skills, stand exams, forest dynamics modeling, cruising, marking and harvesting. The course and presentation focus on using emulation of natural forest disturbances as a main thesis.


5. Knowledge of soil health and management

Title Description
Unlock the Secrets in the Soil A series of 41 videos, mostly under five minutes each that discuss various soil health topics and applications of soil health principles.
Soil Quality - the Foundation for Resource Management (Time: 1:55)  Participants in the webinar learn about Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation planning principles to improve soil health and the impact soil health has on other resource concerns, such as water quality.
Soil Health (Time: 57:21)  In this session, Dr. Jessica Gutknecht discusses soil health. When you think about the soil beneath your feet, or beneath your tractor, what does it mean for it to be healthy? What does it take for it to be healthy, and what are the results of those efforts? In this talk, we will explore the world below with a brief introduction to soils, how soil structure is built into a healthy soil, and some management options for building a healthy soil. We will also discuss the win-win of soil health for sustainable management and for adaptation to increasingly variable Minnesota weather and climate.
Living Soil Film (Time 1:00:22) Our soils support 95 percent of all food production, and by 2060, our soils will be asked to give us as much food as we have consumed in the last 500 years. They filter our water. They are one of our most cost-effective reservoirs for sequestering carbon. They are our foundation for biodiversity. And they are vibrantly alive, teeming with 10,000 pounds of biological life in every acre. Yet in the last 150 years, we’ve lost half of the basic building block that makes soil productive. The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are now estimated to be as high as $85 billion every single year. Like any relationship, our living soil needs our tenderness. It’s time we changed everything we thought we knew about soil.


Additional KSAs Based on Practice Phases

1. Inventory and Evaluation (I&E) planning

  • Ability to use soils information for tree/shrub applicability
Title Description
Tech Talk: Tree/Shrub Establishment CPS 612 This session will cover the use of Web Soil Survey to identify Conservation Tree/Shrub Groups and using the CTSG group spreadsheet to select species of trees/shrubs to plant. We will review tree spacing specifications for different planting purposes and other tree/shrub selection factors. In addition, participants will become familiar with the Implementation Requirements worksheet for the 612 practice standard.
Conservation Tree/Shrub Groups: A Tool for Matching Woody Plants to Soils This webinar provides guidance on how to develop and use Conservation Tree/Shrub Groups (CTSG) to match woody plants to soils. (Time: 00:39)

2. Design and development of conservation practice requirements

  • Ability to calculate tree/shrub numbers
  • Knowledge of planting dates for plant species used
  • Knowledge of operation and maintenance for vegetative establishment

3. Installation oversight and certification