Is silvopasture a sustainable option to help tackle deforestation? [S-7]

Organizers:
Lois K Kinneen, University of Reading
Cristina Rosique-Esplugas, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Silvopasture is promoted as a sustainable farming method that can have environmental, biodiversity, social and economic benefits; through a transdisciplinary approach we consider the impacts of key elements of silvopasture implementation on biodiversity and farmers’ livelihoods.

Agricultural expansion is a leading cause of deforestation and biodiversity loss across the tropics. Driven by the increasing global demand for food production, the consequences of such land conversion are wide-ranging, including habitat loss, the loss of species and their key ecological functions, as well as having important environmental and social impacts. To ensure food security, whilst also mitigating negative effects of land conversion, we need research to understand and develop more sustainable approaches. Silvopasture is a well-established farming practice that has seen increased support throughout the tropics in recent years. Silvopastoral approaches are often promoted as sustainable as they may increase agricultural production per unit area and subsequently reduce the rate of forest destruction and area of land converted to agriculture.

Silvopasture research across the tropics has tended to focus on environmental impacts such as water availability, soil quality and carbon storage. Here, we take a broader approach and consider if silvopastoral systems are effective and if they can provide benefits to biodiversity and reduce deforestation, whilst also supporting the livelihoods of farmers. The symposium will cover a range of topics, including plant and invertebrate community diversity in silvopastoral systems, an exploration of farmers’ perceptions of biodiversity, and the causal links that influence the uptake of this type of agri-environmental initiative.  

A lack of coordination between projects on the ground, and poor communication between researchers from different disciplines can influence the longevity and success of agri-environmental initiatives. With a focus on biodiversity, we will bring together speakers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to present different perspectives and host an engaging and dynamic discussion on the effectiveness of silvopasture to reduce the rate of tropical land degradation. Our speakers share a common ground of the same study region, in the department of Caquetá in the Colombian Amazon. This area continues to experience high levels of deforestation. Our results provide information for both farm management and policy recommendations that may promote agricultural sustainability.

Invertebrates as indicators of the conservation value across different habitat types on farms which have adopted silvopasture (Lois Kinneen)

Effects of the implementation of silvopastoral systems on native plant diversity, in pasture and forest habitats (Cristina Rosique-Esplugas)

The social organisation of silvopastoral projects and its relation to biodiversity knowledge systems (Adriana Suarez-Delucchi)

Silvopastoral systems adoption by farmers in Caquetá: Analysis of land suitability (Ignacio Sepulveda)

Presentations

Symposium

Is silvopasture a sustainable option to help tackle deforestation? [S-7]