Silvopastures are characterized by the intentional integration and management of trees, forages, and livestock. They have been broadly accepted as an integrated approach to sustainable land management with potential to provide ecosystem services while providing options to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In the northern Peruvian Amazon we identified, described, and assessed the most prevalent silvopastoral systems. Raising cattle activities in this region occurs mainly in production units with area < 10 ha. Predominant silvopasture designs consisted of trees in live fences and scattered trees. Understory forage is mainly monoculture grass grazed by dual-purpose cattle breeds. The common denominators of the types of trees utilized in these systems are trees pruned to obtain firewood, followed by timber trees, followed by fruit trees. Specific details of the project can be found here.
In North Carolina, we tested the effects of three tree species (two evergreen and one deciduous) on understory forage productivity and microclimate. The mitigation potential of trees on temperature, relative humidity, and temperature-humidity index was moderate and it varied as a function of time of the day and month of the year and it was more noticeable during the daytime of summer months. The mitigation potential was at the most 1° for temperature and temperature-humidity index and 3 points for relative humidity. The main feature of the silvopastoral system’s design in NC is the provision of year-round shade by the tree-component, with varying levels of shade due to tree species and season.
A gallery of pictures from both projects can be found here.