Shelterbelt design guidelines now available

Published: 31 March 2022

Shelterbelt guidelines are now available on Cardinia Shire Council’s website to download.

Shelterbelts are strips of vegetation planted to provide a wind buffer, shade for livestock, crop protection or to create habitat for wildlife. They may help protect against some of the increasing effects of climate change.

The guidelines and their accompanying report give practical advice to landholders on the benefits, design and functions of shelterbelts and how to create them.

Eco Logical Australia developed the guidelines and report following consultation with landholders impacted by the 2019 Bunyip Complex bushfires, as well as with Bunyip Landcare group, Westernport Landcare Catchment Network and Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority, now integrated with Melbourne Water.

During the 2019 Bunyip Complex Fires, Bunyip Landcare members observed that the fire behaviour was different across the fire impacted area. This led to questions about whether shelterbelt design was a contributing factor.

As part of the natural environment recovery process, Council then engaged Eco Logical Australia in 2020 to research shelterbelt designs. The objective was to develop guidelines to assist landholders in designing shelterbelts to be better suited to the future effects of climate change.

The guidelines demonstrate that there are significant benefits to be gained from planting shelterbelts as they can help reduce local climate change impacts including higher temperatures, reduced rainfall, and more extreme weather events.  

The guidelines provide details on:

  • the benefits of planting shelterbelts.
  • how to plan and design shelterbelts that will lessen climate change impacts.
  • how to select species that will survive future climate conditions.
  • site planning and preparation.
  • shelterbelt management.
  • example design principles to assist whole farm planning.

The design guidelines provide key recommendations including:

  • shelterbelt orientation
  • planting density
  • location
  • species selection
  • maintenance.

The recommendations will help landholders to:

  • adapt to climate change
  • increase agricultural production
  • protect built assets
  • enhance biodiversity.

More info

Read the full report or download the landowner guide at 

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