Why use trees on grazed areas?
Why manage shrub encroachment in cork oak montado?
- natural tree regeneration
- protection from excessive light exposure and animal predation
- soil protection
- increased carbon sequestration
- increased fodder diversity
- increased biodiversity
Why do we need to support tree regeneration?
Dehesas and Montados are very suitable for pasture production. However, livestock grazing hampers the natural regeneration of the tree layer, especially in areas with challenging soil and climate conditions. Seed predation by domestic and wild animals, abiotic stresses (drought, high summer temperatures and infertile soils), and the lack of suitable microsites for seed germination are major impediments to seedling establishment and survival.
Why holistic management?
The increased demand for meat is driven by a rising human population, and a dramatic growth in meat consumption per person. Farmers and scientists have sought to curb the adverse environmental impacts of livestock by increasing production efficiency, and reducing its contribution to human consumption. Reduction in livestock feed components, which compete with human food crop production, is one approach to mitigating negative environmental impacts and strengthening future food security.
Productivity of natural pastures in Iberian dehesas is usually low and very variable (on average 1440 kg dry matter (DM) ha/yr). They also provide low nutritive value forage, containing 4-20% legume fraction, 9-12% crude protein, 44-59% neutral detergent fibre and 28-37% acid detergent fibre.
Why establish biodiverse pastures rich in legumes?
Dehesa is a man-made silvopastoral ecosystem. It is characterised by a high biodiversity, but pasture production can be low, especially in winter and summer. Consequently, many farmers are dependent on external fodder sources, making the dehesa a less economically sustainable ecosystem.