Jim Brandle

Jim Brandle

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Expertise & Interests
  • Grants
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Title Emeritus Shelterbelt Ecologist
Address 408 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
Phone 402-472-6626
FAX 402-472-2946
E-mail jbrandle1@unl.edu
Vitae Download file

Hi, I'm Jim Brandle, and I'm a professor emeritus of forestry in the School of Natural Resources.

My main research emphasis is the role of woody plants in agricultural systems, particularly windbreaks and their effects on all aspects of crop production. One part has to do with how windbreaks and shelterbelts work. The other major components focus on the economic value of various forms of shelter and the role that windbreaks play in maintaining biodiversity on our farms and ranches.

Key projects involve research into the physics, or the mechanisms, of woody plant shelter and an increasing emphasis on the economic benefits of shelter, especially crop response. These studies are being pursued in cooperation with colleagues at Iowa State University and the U.S. Forest Service.

Working with the cooperators above, we will soon be releasing the second version of a crop windbreak-economics model. This sophisticated computer model is based on intensive studies of windbreak airflow dynamics and will quantify precise effects on crop yields and money saved. It can evaluate any shelter for the economic benefits to corn or soybean production in the north-central United States.

Forester Jim Brandle and student experiment with the effects of windbreaks on soybeans.
Forester Jim Brandle and student experiment with the effects of windbreaks on soybeans.

Another recent venture involves investigating the effects of windbreaks on carbon sequestration, or storage. Storing carbon helps mitigate climate change. My colleagues and I are looking not only into how much carbon field windbreaks store, but also how much fossil fuel is saved because that area is taken out of production, and not plowed and cultivated. In addition, other types of windbreaks provide savings from reduced home heating and cooling costs and from reduced snow removal costs.

Selected Publications

Awada, T., R. El-Hage, M. Geha, D.A. Wedin, J.A. Huddle, X. Zhou, J. Msanne, R.A Sudmeyer, D.L. Martin, and J.R. Brandle, (2013). Intra-annual variability and environmental controls over transpiration in a 58-year-old even-aged stand of invasive Juniperus virginiana L. in the Nebraska Sandhills, USA. Ecohydrology 6:731-740.
Li, Y., X. Zhou, J.R. Brandle, T. Shang, Y. Chen, J. Han. 2012. Tempoeral progress in improving carbon and nitrogen storage by grazing exclosure practice in a degraded land area of China’s Horgin Sandy Grassland. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment 150:55-61
Li, Y.Q., Brandle, J., Awada, T., Chen, Y.P., Han, J.J., Zhang, F.X., Luo, Y.Q., 2013. Accumulation of carbon and nitrogen in the plant–soil system after afforestation of active sand dunes in China's Horqin Sandy Land. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 177, 75–84.
Quinn, J.E., A. Oden, J.R. Brandle. 2013. The influence of different cover types on American Robin nest success in organic agroecosystems. Sustainability. 5:3502-3512
Quinn, J.E., J.R. Brandle, and R.J. Johnson. 2013. A farm-scale biodiversity and ecosystem services assessment tool: The Healthy Farm Index. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. 11(2): 176-192.
Quinn, J.E., J. Brandle, and R. Johnson. 2012. The effects of land sparing and wildlife-friendly practices on grassland bird abundance within organic farmlands. Agriculture Ecosystems, & Environment. 161:10-16.
Schoeneberger, M.M., G. Bentrup, H. deGooijer, R. Soolanayakanahally, T. Sauer, J. Brandle, X. Zhou, and D. Current. 2012. Agroforestry as a climate change mitigation and adaptation tool for agriculture. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 67:128A-136A
Hernandez-Ramirex, G., T.J. Sauer, C.A. Cambardella, J.R. Brandle and D.E. James. (2011) Carbon sources and dynamics in afforested and cultivated corn belt soils. Soil Sci. Soc. of Am. J. 75:216-225.
Hou, Q., L.J. Young, J.R. Brandle, and M.M. Schoeneberger. (2011) A spatial model approach for assessing windbreak growth and carbon stocks. J. Environ. Quality 40:842-852.
Quinn, J.E, J.R. Brandle, R.J. Johnson, and A.J. Tyre. (2011) Application of detectability in the use of indicator species: A case study with birds. Ecological Indicators 11:1413-1418.
Zhou, X.H., J.R. Brandle, T.N. Awada, M.M. Schoeneberger, D.L. Martin, Z.H Tang. (2011) The use of forest-derived specific gravity for the conversion of volume to biomass for open grown trees on agricultural land. Biomass and Bioenergy 35:1721-1731.
Hoagland, L., L. Hodges, G.A. Helmers, J.R. Brandle and C.A. Francis. 2010. Labor availability in an integrated agricultural system. J. Sust. Agric. 34:532-548.
Brandle, J.R., J. Tyndal, R.A. Sudmeyer, and L. Hodges (2009) Windbreak Practices. In: Garrett, H.E., W.J. Rietveld, and R.F. Fisher (eds.) North American Agroforestry: An Integrated Science and Practice, 2nd edition, Am. Soc. Agronomy, Madison, WI.
Hygnstrom, S.E., S.J. Josiah, P.D. Skelton, J.A. Gilsdorf, D.R. Virchow, J.R. Brandle, A.K. Jayaprakash, K.M. Eskridge and K.C. VerCauteren. (2009) White-tailed deer browsing and rubbing preferences for trees and shrubs that produce non-timber forest products. HortTechnology 19:204-211.
Mize, C., J. Brandle, M. Schoeneberger, and G. Bentrup. 2008. Ecological development and function of shelterbelts in temperate North America. Pp 27-54. Jose S., and Gordon A. (eds.) Toward Agroforestry Design: An Ecological Approach. Springer, The Netherlands.
Perry, M.E.L., W.H. Schacht, G.A. Ruark, and J.R. Brandle (2009) Tree canopy effect on grass and grass/legume mixtures in eastern Nebraska. Agroforestry Systems 77:23-35
Puckett, H.L, J.R. Brandle, R.J. Johnson, and E.E. Blankenship (2009) Avian foraging patterns in crop field edges adjacent to woody habitat. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment 131:9-15.
Mize, C.W., J. Colletti, W. Batchelor, S.S. Kim, E.S. Takle, and J.R. Brandle (2008) Modeling a field shelterbelt system with the shelterbelt agroforestry modeling system. In: D.R. Batish, R.K. Kohli, S. Jose, and H.P. Singh (eds.) Ecological Basis of Agroforestry. Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL. p. 273-285.
Zhou, X.H., J.R. Brandle, C.W. Mize, and E.S. Takle (2008) Relationship of three-dimensional structure to shelterbelt function: A theoretical hypothesis. In: D.R. Batish, R.K. Kohli, S. Jose, and H.P. Singh (eds.) Ecological Basis of Agroforestry. Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL. p. 273-285.
Dosskey, M.G., K.D. Hoagland, and J.R. Brandle (2007) Change in filter strip performance over ten years. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 62 (1): 21-32.
Sauer, T.J., C.A. Cambardella, and J.R. Brandle (2007) Soil carbon and tree litter dynamics in a red cedar-scotch pine shelterbelt. Agroforestry Systems 71:163- 174
Zhou, X.H., J. Brandle, M. Schoeneberger, and T. Awada (2007) Developing above gournd biomass equations for open-grown multiple-stemmed tree species: Shelterbelt grown Russian olive. Ecological Modeling 202:311-323.
Hodges, L., E. Daningsih, and J. Brandle (2006) Comparison of an antitranspirant spray, a polyacrylamide gel and wind protection on early growth of muskmelon. HortScience 41 (2):361-366.
Kriz, J., S.D. Danielson, J.R. Brandle, and E.E. Blankenship (2006) Relative abundance of exotic and native Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) in southeast Nebraska alfalfa. Journal of Entomological Science 41(1):84-86.
Kriz, J., S.D. Danielson, J.R. Brandle, E.E. Blankenship and G. Henebry (2006) Effects of aphid (Homoptera) abundance and surrounding vegetation on the encounter rate of Coccinellidae (Coleoptera), Chrysopidae (Neuroptera) and Nabidae (Hemiptera) in alfalfa. Journal of Entomological Science 41(3): 211-220.
Samal, A., J.R. Brandle, and D.S. Zhang (2006) Texture as the basis for individual tree identification. Information Sciences 176 (5):565-576.
Zhang, D.S., A. Samal, and J.R. Brandle. (2006) A Method for estimating fractal dimension of tree crowns from digital images. International Journal of Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence 20:1-11.
Helmers, G. and J.R. Brandle (2005) Optimum windbreak spacing in Great Plains Agriculture. Great Plains Research 15:179-198.
Quo, Q., M. Taper, M. Schoeneberger, J. Brandle 2005. Spatial-temporal population dynamics across species range: from centre to margin. Oikos 108:47-57.
Skelton, P., S.J. Josiah, J.W. King, J.R. Brandle, G.A. Helmers, and C.A. Francis (2005) Adoption of riparian forest buffers on private lands in Nebraska, USA. Journal of Small-Scale Forest Economics, Management and Policy 4:185-204.
Zhou, X.H., J.R. Brandle, C.W. Mize, E.S. Takle 2005. Three-dimensional aerodynamic structure of a tree shelterbelts: Definition, characterization ans working models. Agroforestry Systems 63:133-147.
Brandle, J.R., L. Hodges, X, Zhou (2004) Windbreaks in North American agricultural systems. Agroforestry Systems 61:65-78.
Hodges, L., M.N. Suratman, J.R. Brandle, and K.G. Hubbard (2004) Growth and yield of snap beans as affected by wind protection and microclimate changes due to shelterbelts and planting dates. HortScience 39:996-1004.
Josiah, S.J., R. St-Pierre, H. Brott, and J.R. Brandle (2004) Productive conservation: Diversifying farm enterprises by producing specialty woody products in agroforestry systems. Journal Sustainable Agriculture 23:93-108.
Zhou, X.H., J.R. Brandle, C.W. Mize, and E.S. Mize (2004) Three-dimensional aerodynamic structure of a tree shelterbelt: Definition, characterization and working models. Agroforestry Systems (In press).
Brandle, J., X.H. Zhou, and L. Hodges, (2003) Agroforestry for enhancing water use efficiency. Encyclopedia of Water Science 19-21.
Hou, Q.J., J.R. Brandle, M.M. Schoenberger (2003) Root-prunning alters soil moisture at the windbreak/crop interface. Agroforestry Systems 57:137-147.
Takle, E.S., J.R. Brandle, R.A. Schmidt, and R. Garcia, I.V. Litvina, W.J. Massman, X.H. Zhou, G. Doyle, C.W Rice (2003) High-frequency pressure variation in the vicinity of a surface CO2 flux chamber. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 114:245-250.
Beecher, N.A., R.J. Johnson, J.R. Brandle, R.M. Case, and L.J. Young,. 2002. Agroecology of birds in organic and non-organic farmland. Conservation Biology 16:1620-1631.
Brandle, J., X. Zhou, and L. Hodges. 2002. How windbreaks work,. EC-02-1763
Zhou, X.H., J.R. Brandle, E.S. Takle, C.W. Mize. 2002. Estimation of the 3-dimensional aerodynamic structure of a green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh.) shelterbelt. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 111:93-108.
Easterling, W.E., J.R. Brandle, Q. Guo, C.J Hays, and D.S. Guertin. 2001. Simulating the impact of human land use change on forest composition in Great Plains agroecosystems with the Seedscape model. Ecological Modeling 140 (1-2):163-176.
Brandle, J. and L. Hodges. 2000. Field windbreaks. EC-00-1778.
Stange, C., J. Wilson, J. Brandle, and M. Kuhns. 1998. Windbreak renovation. EC-98-1777.
Brandle, J.R. and H.D. Nickerson. 1996. Windbreaks for snow management. EC-96-1770.
Stange, C. and J.R. Brandle. 1996. Windbreak management. EC-96-1768.
Quam, V.C., L. Johnson, B. Wight, and J.R. Brandle. 1994. Windbreaks for livestock operations. EC-91-1766.
Wight, B., T.K. Boes, and J.R. Brandle. 1993. Windbreaks for rural living. EC-91-1767.
Johnson, R.J., M.M. Beck and J.R. Brandle. 1992. Windbreaks and wildlife. EC-91-1771.
Quam, V.C., J. Gardner, J.R. Brandle and T.K. Boes. 1992. Windbreaks in sustainable agricultural systems. EC-91-1772.
Boehner, P., J.R. Brandle and S. Finch. 1991. Windbreak establishment. EC-91-1764.

Educational Background

  • BS - University of Tennessee, Botany (1966)
  • MS - University of Missouri, Forestry (1970)
  • PhD - University of Missouri, Forestry (1974)

SNR Mission Area(s)

  • Applied Ecology

Areas of Interest

  • Agroforestry
  • Shelterbelts
  • Ecology
  • Crop Response to Shelter
  • Microclimate in woody plant shelter
  • Shelterbelt Structure and Function
  • Agroecology
  • Biological Control
  • Biological diversity
  • Forest and grassland ecology
  • Forestry
  • Organic agriculture
  • Sustainable agriculture and societies
  • Trees
  • Windbreaks
  • Bio-atmospheric interactions
  • Urban Forestry
  • Riparian Ecosystems

SNR Areas of Expertise

Keyword Expert Level

10 - Top Expert
1 - Mild Interest





Riparian Ecosystems


Urban Forestry


Forest Ecosystems


Select a keyword and see other SNR faculty and staff with this interest or expertise.

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title Temperate Agroforestry in GHG Mitigation on Agricultural Lands: Accounting and Methodologies for Carbon and Indirect Benefits
Starting Date 8/1/2011
Principal Investigators
Ending Date 7/31/2015
Funding Level $50,000.00
Funding Source US Department of Agriculture

Grant Title Agriculture and Peri-urban Development: Synergism for the Future
Starting Date 3/1/2009
Principal Investigators
Jim Brandle
Ending Date 9/30/2010
Funding Level $25,563.00
Funding Source McIntire-Stennis


Undergraduate Majors Bachelor of Science in
  • Pre-Forestry
Graduate Program(s)