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Characterizing Livestock Production in Portuguese Sown Rainfed Grasslands: Applying the Inverse Approach to a Process-Based Model

1
MARETEC—Marine, Environment and Technology Centre, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
2
Terraprima—Serviços Ambientais, Sociedade Unipessoal, Lda, 2135-199 Samora Correia, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4437; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124437
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Production and Industrial Ecology)
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Abstract

Grasslands are a crucial resource that supports animal grazing and provides other ecosystem services. We estimated the main properties of Portuguese sown biodiverse permanent pastures rich in legumes (SBP) starting from measured data for soil organic carbon (SOC) and using the Rothamsted Carbon Model. Starting from a dataset of SOC, aboveground production (AGP) and stocking rates (SR) in SBP, we used an inverse approach to estimate root to shoot (RS) ratios, livestock dung (LD), livestock intake (LI) and the ratio between easily decomposable and resistant plant material. Results for the best fit show that AGP and belowground productivity is approximately the same (RS is equal to 0.96). Animals consume 61% of the AGP, which is within the acceptable range of protein and energy intake. Carbon inputs from dung are also within the range found in the literature (1.53 t C/livestock unit). Inputs from litter are equally distributed between decomposable and resistant material. We applied these parameters in RothC for a dataset from different sites that only comprises SOC to calculate AGP and SR. AGP and SR were consistently lower in this case, because these pastures did not receive adequate technical support. These results highlight the mechanisms for carbon sequestration in SBP. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil organic matter; soil organic carbon; ecosystem services; RothC; modelling; optimization algorithms; extensive livestock production; industrial ecology soil organic matter; soil organic carbon; ecosystem services; RothC; modelling; optimization algorithms; extensive livestock production; industrial ecology
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Morais, T.G.; Teixeira, R.F.M.; Rodrigues, N.R.; Domingos, T. Characterizing Livestock Production in Portuguese Sown Rainfed Grasslands: Applying the Inverse Approach to a Process-Based Model. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4437.

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