The aim of this study was to investigate the function of tree belts in reducing the aeolian transport of dust particles carrying pesticides. The study examined the importance of the buffer zones created by commonly planted trees (Eucalyptus camaldulensis
, Pinus halepensis
(pine) and Ceratonia siliqua
(carob)). The methods include analyzing the quantity and the chemical composition of pesticides carried by aeolian dust particles from the intensively cultivated fields and orchards, where pesticides were applied, towards the tree belts nearby. Eighteen different chemicals used as insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, were found both in the agricultural fields and in the adjacent tree belts, suggesting an important function of the trees. This ecological service has rarely been taken into consideration by management policies of tree plantings in farmland areas. To integrate this service into agriculture, especially in the case of agricultural fields and orchards, which are adjacent to populated areas, planting tree belts should be positively considered as a means for reducing aeolian dust and air pollution, mainly in order to reduce leakage of pesticides, which are a cause for significant health concerns.
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