Silvopastoralism and Agroforestry for Forage Production

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Grassland and Pasture Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2023) | Viewed by 7054

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Grazing System - Animal Production Systems and Animal Health - Agroscope (CH), Route de la Tioleyre 4, 1725 Posieux, Switzerland
Interests: forage production; grassland ecology; grassland management; grazing systems; agroforestry

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Grazing System - Animal Production Systems and Animal Health - Agroscope (CH), Route de la Tioleyre 4, 1725 Posieux, Switzerland
Interests: agroforestry; biodiversity; drought; ecosystem functioning; grassland management; plant–soil interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change is prompting a rethink of fodder production worldwide. The use of fodder trees could be one of the keys for adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change, due to their high resistance to droughts, the persistent forage quality of their leaves, their ability to store carbon in the soil, and the provision of other important ecosystem services to society. Adapting ancient forms of fodder use (e.g., silvopastoral systems) to the actual situation and/or integrating trees into permanent grasslands (e.g., by creating fodder tree hedgerows) could garner promising solutions to ensure the future sustainability of livestock production systems.

In this Special Issue, we welcome novel research, reviews, and opinion pieces covering all related topics indicated above on how trees could provide sustainable forage resources and other ecosystem services in the context of climate change.

Dr. Massimiliano Probo
Dr. Pierre Mariotte
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • agroforestry
  • climate change
  • ecosystem services
  • fodder trees
  • forage production
  • grassland
  • grazing
  • livestock production

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 2812 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study between Silvopastoral and Agroforest Systems on Soil Quality in a Disturbed Native Forest of South-Central Chile
by Juan Ortiz, Francis Dube, Pablo Neira, Rafael R. Hernández Valera, Pedro M. de Souza Campos, Marcelo Panichini, Andrés Pérez-San Martín, Neal B. Stolpe, Erick Zagal and Gustavo Curaqueo
Agronomy 2023, 13(11), 2683; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13112683 - 25 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1053
Abstract
Agroforestry systems (AFSs) have gained recognition as a land use strategy to address food security and climate change. They involve intentionally cultivating trees alongside crops and/or animals. AFSs cover approximately 5% of the global forest area and promote sustainable soil conservation, including soil [...] Read more.
Agroforestry systems (AFSs) have gained recognition as a land use strategy to address food security and climate change. They involve intentionally cultivating trees alongside crops and/or animals. AFSs cover approximately 5% of the global forest area and promote sustainable soil conservation, including soil organic carbon (C) sequestration (CSEQ). In some areas of Chile, AFSs are used to preserve the ecological value of native forests. This study evaluates the effects of two AFSs, namely, an agroforest for fodder production (AGROFRST) and Silvopastoral (SPS), within a degraded native forest (Nothofagus obliqua sp.). The evaluation focuses on their impact on CSEQ capacity and soil quality (SQ), using soil quality indexes (SQIs) derived from 30 soil quality indicators (SINDs) related to physical, chemical, and microbiological properties at two depths (0–5 and 5–20 cm). The results for the total depth analyzed (0–20 cm) indicate an average CSEQ of 6.88 and 4.83 Mg C yr−1 and a global SQI of 37.8% and 31.0% for AGROFRST and SPS, respectively. Among the thirteen SINDs that demonstrated significant differences (p < 0.05), five were associated with the considered depths (P+, Ca2+, S, ECEC, and AlSAT), three differed between AGROFRST and SPS (BD, NH4+, NO3), while SOC, K+, and Mg2+ varied across all conditions (e.g., combinations of systems and depths), and β-GLU and NMIN differed in a single condition. However, almost all 30 SINDs analyzed showed higher values at the 0–5 cm depth, indicating the positive effects of soil organic matter (SOM)/SOC additions. Significant interactions (Pearson’s correlation) revealed that SOC correlated with most SINDs (e.g., N, NH4+, P+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, S, ECEC, NMIN). These findings suggest that both AGROFRST and SPS systems have similar capabilities in restoring the ecological value of native Nothofagus forests while providing conditions for productive and complementary use. This sustainable option offers opportunities for cattle production alongside ecological restoration efforts and provides a possible strategy to generate public policies related to the ecosystem services of agroforestry systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silvopastoralism and Agroforestry for Forage Production)
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9 pages, 252 KiB  
Communication
Effects of Packing Density and Inoculation with Lactic Acid-Producing Bacteria to Evaluate the Potential for North American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis L.) Fodder as Silage
by Christine C. Nieman and Ashley C. Conway-Anderson
Agronomy 2022, 12(12), 3212; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12123212 - 18 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1092
Abstract
Commercial elderberry production requires complete pruning in late fall to maintain productive canes. For integrated farms (livestock and crops), this biomass has potential as ensiled fodder for ruminant livestock. The objectives of this study were to determine the forage nutritive value of late-season [...] Read more.
Commercial elderberry production requires complete pruning in late fall to maintain productive canes. For integrated farms (livestock and crops), this biomass has potential as ensiled fodder for ruminant livestock. The objectives of this study were to determine the forage nutritive value of late-season (November) pruned elderberry (Sambucus canadensis L. “Rogersville”) fodder when ensiled. A 2 × 2 factorial laboratory silo experiment was conducted testing two packing densities with or without inoculation with lactic acid-producing bacteria silage inoculant to determine effects on silage nutritive values and fermentation parameters. Pre-ensiled elderberry fodder, composited from plants over 2000 m2, averaged 5.6% crude protein, 62.5% acid detergent fiber (ADF), 72.5% neutral detergent fiber, 11.4% non-fiber carbohydrates, 53% total digestive nutrients, and 52% relative feed value (RFV). The two packing densities were 160.2 kg dry matter/m3 and 240.3 kg dry matter/m3. Packing density did not affect any nutrient characteristics of the ensiled fodder. Acid detergent fiber was greater (p = 0.01) in un-inoculated silage, resulting in lower (p < 0.01) RFV for un-inoculated silage. Only lactic acid concentration was affected by packing density with greater concentrations (p = 0.04) in high-density silos. Inoculant affected several fermentation parameters with greater concentrations of (p < 0.01) propanediol, (p = 0.01) propanol, and (p < 0.01) acetic acid, while un-inoculated silages had greater concentrations of (p = 0.03) ammonia-nitrogen, (p < 0.01) lactic acid, (p = 0.02) succinic acid, and (p < 0.01) ethanol. Overall, late-season elderberry fodder was successfully ensiled, but nutritive value was low. Packing density did not affect nutritive value but did increase lactic acid concentration. Inoculation improved the RFV by reducing ADF, and though acetic acid production was greater in inoculated silage, total acid concentration was not affected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silvopastoralism and Agroforestry for Forage Production)
23 pages, 15500 KiB  
Article
Productivity, Morphology and Chemical Composition of Brachiaria spp. Ecotypes, under Two Solar Illumination Intensities, in Yucatan, Mexico
by Reyes B. Torres-Lugo, Francisco Javier Solorio-Sánchez, Luis Ramírez y Avilés, Juan Carlos Ku-Vera, Carlos Fernando Aguilar-Pérez and Jesús Santillano-Cázares
Agronomy 2022, 12(11), 2634; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12112634 - 26 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2194
Abstract
There are mixed reports about the advantages and disadvantages of the presence of shade produced by trees over the understory-growing grasses; thus, it is urgent to test grass species and cultivars with potential to develop in shaded conditions associated with trees that occur [...] Read more.
There are mixed reports about the advantages and disadvantages of the presence of shade produced by trees over the understory-growing grasses; thus, it is urgent to test grass species and cultivars with potential to develop in shaded conditions associated with trees that occur in silvopastoral systems. The objective of the present study was to identify Brachiaria spp. ecotypes adapted for cultivation under tree shade, typical of silvopastoral systems. The study was conducted at Kampepen ranch, located 14 km south of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. A factorial 6 (ecotypes) x 2 (sunlight intensities) treatment structure was used, arranged in split-plot design; with sunlight intensity levels being the plots and ecotypes the subplots, with three replications. The ecotypes were T1: Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato II, T2: Brachiaria hybrid cv. Cayman Blend, T3: Brachiaria hybrid cv. Talisman (BR05/1467), T4: Brachiaria hybrid cv. Camello Blend, T5: Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu and T6 (the control): M. maximus cv. Mombasa, while the two sunlight intensity levels were higher and lower sunlight reductions with respect to full sunlight (25% and 50% light transmission with respect to full sunlight, respectively). Variables were plant height, forage yield and chemical composition; leaf, stem and dead material fractions and leaf:stem ratio; plant canopy cover, plant maturity, and growth rate. Significant (p < 0.050) ecotype x sunlight intensity interactions were recorded for most of the studied variables. Independent of the shading levels, ecotype Talisman showed superior performance compared with the other assessed ecotypes, yielding up to 20 ton ha−1 under the highest light intensity, means across light intensities for crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and acid detergent fiber (ADF) of 11.8%, 59.7%, and 34.7%, respectively, and more than 90% plant canopy cover. It is concluded that Talisman has promising characteristics for cultivation under silvopastoral systems, where tree shading is common, in the dry tropics of Yucatan, Mexico. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silvopastoralism and Agroforestry for Forage Production)
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17 pages, 2626 KiB  
Article
Kānuka Trees Facilitate Pasture Production Increases in New Zealand Hill Country
by Thomas H. Mackay-Smith, Ignacio F. López, Lucy L. Burkitt and Janet I. Reid
Agronomy 2022, 12(7), 1701; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12071701 - 18 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1778
Abstract
‘Tree-pasture’ silvopastoral systems have the potential to become transformative multifunctional landscapes that add both environmental and economic value to pastoral farms. Nevertheless, no published study has found increased pasture production under mature silvopastoral trees in New Zealand hill country. This study takes a [...] Read more.
‘Tree-pasture’ silvopastoral systems have the potential to become transformative multifunctional landscapes that add both environmental and economic value to pastoral farms. Nevertheless, no published study has found increased pasture production under mature silvopastoral trees in New Zealand hill country. This study takes a novel approach to silvopastoral research in New Zealand, and investigates a genus that has similar bio-physical attributes to other global silvopastoral trees that have been shown to increase pasture production under their canopies, with the aim of finding a silvopastoral genera that can increase pasture production under tree canopies compared to open pasture in New Zealand. This study measures pasture and soil variables in two pasture positions: under individually spaced native kānuka (Kunzea spp.) trees (kānuka pasture) and paired open pasture positions at least 15 m from tree trunks (open pasture) at two sites over two years. There was 107.9% more pasture production in kānuka pasture positions. The soil variables that were significantly greater in kānuka pasture were Olsen-P (+115.7%, p < 0.001), K (+100%, p < 0.001), Mg (+33.33%, p < 0.01), Na (+200%, p < 0.001) and porosity (+8.8%, p < 0.05), and Olsen-P, porosity and K best explained the variation between kānuka pasture and open pasture positions. Volumetric soil moisture was statistically similar in kānuka pasture and open pasture positions. These results are evidence of nutrient transfer by livestock to the tree-pasture environment. Furthermore, as there was a significantly greater porosity and 48.6% more organic matter under the trees, there were likely other processes also contributing to the difference between tree and open pasture environments, such as litterfall. These results show that kānuka has potential to increase pasture production in New Zealand hill country farms and create multifunctional landscapes enhancing both production and environmental outcomes in pastoral farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silvopastoralism and Agroforestry for Forage Production)
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