What is the context? Photo: Neil Palmer What is the problem? With this panorama, the vulnerability of the livestock production system is heightened by the presence of extreme climate events expressed as increased temperatures on the plains and precipitations in the piedmont, which results in low availability of food in critical seasons. Recognizing this reality, from the Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes project, there has been a move toward the establishment of alternatives of sustainable intensification, among them the silvopastoral systems, which make it possible to improve economic-productive, environmental, and social indicators both at the farm level and at the landscape level. Nevertheless, in spite of the advantages, the rhythm of adoption is slow. The silvopastoral systems have barriers to their adoption, among which are technical barriers, related to the lack of trained personnel, both at a technical level and at a field operations level, to manage more complex systems; economic, related to the lack of capital to cover the costs of implementation and operation, the time it takes for the development of systems to generate a low initial return; and cultural, which include the resistance to change.
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What is the context? Photo: Neil Palmer What is the problem? With this panorama, the vulnerability of the livestock production system is heightened by the presence of extreme climate events expressed as increased temperatures on the plains and precipitations in the piedmont, which results in low availability of food in critical seasons. Recognizing this reality, from the Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes project, there has been a move toward the establishment of alternatives of sustainable intensification, among them the silvopastoral systems, which make it possible to improve economic-productive, environmental, and social indicators both at the farm level and at the landscape level.
Nevertheless, in spite of the advantages, the rhythm of adoption is slow. The silvopastoral systems have barriers to their adoption, among which are technical barriers, related to the lack of trained personnel, both at a technical level and at a field operations level, to manage more complex systems; economic, related to the lack of capital to cover the costs of implementation and operation, the time it takes for the development of systems to generate a low initial return; and cultural, which include the resistance to change.
In regions like the Amazon region, there are limitations of a macro order, such as the climatic conditions, public order, difficulties of access, and policies of marketing and assistance interventions that create disincentives for these systems.
For the purpose of overcoming the limitations in the adoption of silvopastoral systems, from the Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes , a strategy of co-design was promoted. This included an approach to the various alternatives, by means of a study tour of demonstration experiments in the zones of study, which are being accompanied by CIPAV in processes with other initiatives that are being advanced in the region by Patrimonio Natural ; as well as the forage showcase implemented in the context of the SAL project in the Macagual Research center of UNIAMAZ.
Photo: Visit to forage showcase In this way, the producers and participating technicians of the project unified criteria for making progress toward the prioritization of the type of system that can best be adjusted to the local reality of each farm, in order to later enter into the process of personalized co-design of each type of system, in a process that is developed in various stages, depending on the protocol proposed for each alternative.
What are we doing? From CIPAV , as a partner of the SAL project, the main components of the proposal are agrosilvopastoral systems, where an attempt is made to do the simultaneous integration of the agricultural, forestry, and livestock components in a unit of area that is managed comprehensively, to improve the farm overall as a productive system, and thus improve the well-being of the family.
The basic principles that guide its development are based on the ecological intensification of the productive activity, which involves: Integrating the local and the scientific knowledge. Increasing and sustaining the livestock production as the main productive activity. Including the generation of other products diversification for food security, production of lumber and firewood. Making intensive use of the natural functions of the agroecosystem, for the generation of environmental services.
Allowing the release of areas for conservation or restoration, both degraded lands as well as forests and wetlands. Strengthening human and animal food security.
Incorporating measures of adaptation and mitigation of climate change into the farm. Ecological intensification is understood as the means to make intensive and intelligent use of the natural functions of the ecosystem support, regulation to produce foods, fiber, energy, and ecosystem services in a sustainable manner Tittonell, Five systems are included, three productive systems that cover 47 hectares: agrosilvopastoral systems in strips, management of the natural regeneration, and Mixed Forage Banks; as well as two systems in conservation: protection of natural ecosystems 20 hectares , and restoration of areas of ecological importance 13 hectares.
Agrosilvopastoral systems in strips. Photo: Neil Palmer This system includes pastures improved with grasses and legumes that are managed in rotational grazing with electric fencing. The pastures are divided into strips of trees associated with crops for food security. The strips or alleys are protected with electric fence, the width is a minimum of 2.
In this way, a space is generated to plant one or more lines of trees, which include from 15 to 20 species such as trees for lumber, Amazonian fruit trees, leguminous trees, and multipurpose trees, as well as species for food security and forage shrubs for cutting and hauling. In this system, one must guarantee the supply of water in the pastures, implementing livestock water pipes to restrict the entry of cattle into the wetland zones, and in this way avoid the contamination of the hydric sources traditionally used as natural sources of water for the cattle.
Management of natural regeneration Management with pruning of Naudin Bellucia pentamera on the El Mirador farm. Photo: Antonio Solarte This practice is based on the cultural management of the natural regeneration of tree species in the pastures. The native tree species are found in the pastures in different stages of growth.
For adequate interaction with the pasture, permanent activities of pruning and thinning, which favor adequate growth of the pastures and the establishment of shade for the cattle and other environmental benefits derived from the trees in a rapid and very low cost manner.
Photo: Neil Palmer This system includes an area of between 0. The species to be planted are determined according to the needs and preferences of the producer. Protection of natural ecosystems On each farm, the areas in forests or wetlands in good state of conservation have been identified and mapped.
These areas were included in voluntary agreements of conservation of the family that guarantee its sustainability over time. This is a conservation strategy in which the producer receives the investment of the SAL project in the improvement of the productive system as a reward for the natural areas that have been conserved within the farm. Ecological restoration of key areas Recovery of the riparian corridor, protected with an electric fence, and planting of trees, palm trees, and crops for food security.
What happens next? The SAL project is continuing with technical assistance to the producers in order to take advantage of the agrosilvopastoral systems. In the following phase, comparative analysis of the productive, environmental, and social benefits of the systems implemented will be required, through indicators of production of forage biomass, soil quality, and family well-being based on the focus on livelihoods.
We have now improved an area of three hectares with an agrosilvopastoral system in the shape of a pie. Along with the technicians from CIPAV, we decided to take advantage of the establishment of strips to plant food and fruit trees. When we planted the pasture, we also planted maize. Although the maize did not grow very well, we used it for silage and to feed the cattle.
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Agro-silvopastoral systems is a collective term for land-use systems, which combine a woody component trees or shrubs with cattle on the same site. These systems represent a model of production and conservation based on silvi-culture, the practice of growing trees, complementary to pre-existing agricultural activities. It is foremost in drylands that forests and agrosilvopastoral systems play crucial economic, social and environmental roles. These include improved environmental sustainability and resilience of wider landscapes. These systems harbour species that are particularly well adapted to extreme ecological conditions and provide essential goods and environmental services. Agrosilvopastoral systems are of great importance for sustaining rural communities in drylands, especially low-income communities. For example, agro-silvopastoral systems in Africa provide around million people with basic needs such as medicinal supplies and woodfuel.
AGROSILVOPASTORAL SYSTEMS PDF
Metrics details Abstract The paper describes recent changes in pastoral systems in Italy and provides an assessment of current farming systems in marginal areas of the country, where extensive livestock rearing still represents an option. Despite public financial support, rural farming in marginal areas increasingly has to find its place within the wider society, integrate into wider markets, support employment and diversify income generation. Provision of environmental as well as recreational services is increasingly complementing quality food production. The heterogeneous Italian landscape provides important opportunities to better integrate crops, trees and livestock into increasingly sustainable agro-silvo-pastoral systems. Introduction The climate of the southern Mediterranean basin Maghreb and Mashreq regions is favourable for livestock rearing. Animals can be raised during the mild winter and slaughtered during the hot and dry season, thus providing a "living bank" for food and cash. Lamb slaughtering, common to all religions in the area, is related to this seasonality.
Agro-silvo-pastoral systems in Italy: integration and diversification