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Fending Off the Wind on the Steppe

The dark, angular lines crossing this snowy landscape attracted the attention of an astronaut looking down from the International Space Station. This photograph shows the parallel lines of a major shelterbelt—also known as a windbreak—crossing the steppes of southern Russia near the Volga River (Volgograd Oblast). The image shows a 14-kilometer section of an extensive system of shelterbelts planted to protect crops and reduce the erosion of steppe soils by wind. The shelterbelt is broken where it meets a local stream.

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Images and text courtesy of NASA