Preparatory techniques: Shelterbelts & Contour lines fascines

Published: September 2019
Last edited: September 2019

To increase the fertility of the land, shelterbelts and contour lines are recommended to be installed on and alongside the plot.

Shelterbelts preferably consist of one or more rows of trees and shrubs planted around an agricultural field and the trees and bushes should be composed of a mixture of tall trees. Shrubs serve as habitat for a multitude of insects and small mammals, whilst protecting the fields from livestock grazing. Flowering trees and bushes furthermore create habitats for pollinators and other beneficial insects and could also be of interest to beekeepers. If the shelterbelt is built thick enough, it also serves as an effective living fence, and can thus fulfill two functions at once.

Contour line fascines are set up on dry slopes to catch debris, to stabilize soil, and to increase water infiltration into the soil. The contour lines stabilize the soil immediately after planting and develop into strong lines of vegetation.


Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Inception phase

Enabling factors

The following enabling factors were identified:

  • initial financial input by the project is needed for the establishment of the shelterbelt and the fascines¬†
  • Skills and knowledge of tree management and the establishment of contour lines is needed --> If the knowledge is not there, training sessions have to be organised.

Lessons learned

Strong winds not only impair the growth of annual crops and fruit trees but also cause erosion. If agricultural land is seriously affected by wind, setting up shelterbelts is needed. It would be better to plant fruit trees, besides the trees serving as windbreaks, hence its harvest provides additional income. In many districts of Tajikistan, the soil is eroded and dry, therefore contour line fascines are required to be installed. Contour line fascines also need to be irrigated, at least during the first years after installation in most areas of Tajikistan due to usually very dry slopes.