Jim Brandle

Jim Brandle

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Title Shelterbelt Ecologist
Address 407 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 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 global warming. 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

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 Faculty Area(s)

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

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
  • Fisheries & Wildlife
  • Pre-Forestry
Graduate Program(s)

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
NRES 417 Agroforestry Systems in Sustainable Ag X X HORT 418/818, NRES 817
NRES 817 Agroforestry Systems in Sustainable Ag X X HORT 418/818, NRES 417
NRES 849 Woody Plant Growth and Development X BIOS/HORT 849