Ala’ Khaleel (MS) won first place in the student poster competition at the 2017 Soil Health Conference, which took place February 16-17 in Ames. Entitled “Soil Organic Carbon Dynamics of Tree Windbreaks in the U.S. Great Plains,” Khaleel’s poster explored how windbreak practices can contribute to organic carbon and other relevant soil properties.
“It was really one of the most pleasant moments when I heard my name,” Khaleel said. “I was thrilled beyond words that people recognized and tried to reward me for something I genuinely and truly worked for.”
While at the conference, Khaleel interacted with numerous farmers who were interested in the economic and environmental benefits of windbreaks, as it has long been recognized that when strategically integrated into agricultural landscapes, trees can enhance ecological functionality and contribute to income diversity. In discussing her research, Khaleel helped answer questions regarding design, site preparation and other issues related to the planning and implementation of on-farm windbreaks.
As she continues to study this topic, Khaleel's findings will help test COMET- VR, a USDA farm-based model that is being used to predict the carbon sequestration potential of various agroforestry practices.