Factsheets

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Why invisible fencing?

Invisible fencing is an innovation that allows the control of cattle movement without needing physical barriers. In open areas, cattle can be fitted with a Geographical Positioning System (GPS) which will signal when a cow approaches a boundary.

Under trees in a wood pasture, due to the intermittent GPS signal, an alternative method is to bury an electric cable in the soil surface that emits a shortwave radio signal which is sensed by a transponder on a cattle collar. The transponder emits a noise as a cow approaches the boundary and, if she does not turn back, it provides an electric pulse similar to an electric fence. At Epping Forest, each collar also includes a GPS sensor which helps to locate the cattle.

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Why bocage agroforestry today?

In Brittany, the main period for creating the bocage landscape stretched from late 18th Century to early 20th Century. The hedgerows drew on the discontinuities of limits of ownership or use, while delivering fuel and timber wood for local and regional use. During the last 50 years, agricultural and broader rural changes have led to the deconstruction of the bocage and to the loss of ecological functions it provides.

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Silvopasture quality and productivity

In silvopastoral systems, light interception affects productivity of flora beneath the canopy in various ways. In general, herbage production decreases with reduced light intensity. Thus, the use of shade tolerant cultivars of selected species can play an important role in successful silvopastoral management.

Due to their nitrogen fixing ability, the incorporation of shade tolerant legume species may have a special role in increasing the quality and productivity of silvopastures and in enhancing soil fertility.

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Why sustain valonia oak agroforestry systems?

Two valonia oak systems are present in Greece: ancient open forests (silvopastoral systems) and agricultural fields with valonia oak trees (agro-silvopastoral systems). Both have significant socio-economic, ecological and cultural value. They provide ecosystem services and support traditional uses including, grazing, acorn cup and nut collection, harvesting wood (for shipbuilding, firewood and charcoal) and collection of aromatic and medicinal plants.

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Why use trees on grazed areas?

First impressions are often that the presence of trees in pasture systems will lead to a reduction in pasture production due to the light and water competition.   However, other effects on the system dynamics and water availability may be beneficial to nutrient cycling, yield, and pasture productivity. 

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Why manage shrub encroachment in cork oak montado?

The impact of the shrub layers that naturally occupy the montado ecosystem can often be positive. Benefits include:
  • natural tree regeneration
  • protection from excessive light exposure and animal predation
  • soil protection
  • increased carbon sequestration
  • increased fodder diversity
  • increased biodiversity
 

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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.

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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.

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Why triticale?

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.

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