Tree Canopy Management Affects Dynamics of Herbaceous Vegetation and Soil Moisture in Silvopasture Systems Using Arboreal Legumes
It is important to understand how herbaceous and arboreal species interact with each other, specifically how shade effects understory plants. Silvopasture functions best when both strata of the forest are thriving. Silvopasture is impacted by species chosen, spacing of tree plantings, and other management practices. Tree legume species such as Gliricidia sepium and Mimosa caesalpiniifolia hold a potential value for commercial use while also fixing soil nitrogen in the soil.
Goals and Methods
The authors aim to understand more about the potential commercial use of tree legume species and how canopy management via silvopasture may impact herbaceous vegetation and soil conditions. The authors establish tree plantations with two different silvopastoral system treatments and evaluate canopy, understory plant, and soil characteristics through a 7 -year experimental period.
Conclusions and Takeaways
Grasses grow faster and with higher nutrient quality when shaded by Gliricidia canopy compared to with a Mimosa canopy. Overall, canopy trees kept greater levels of soil moisture compared to plots without trees and allowed for faster and higher nutrient herbaceous plant growth. The authors conclude that either species promotes different benefits and values for silvopasture and these are important to consider when determining what type of silvopastoral system to adopt.
Tree Canopy Management Affects Dynamics of Herbaceous Vegetation and Soil Moisture in Silvopasture Systems Using Arboreal Legumes. Agronomy. 2021;11(8):1509. doi:10.3390/agronomy11081509.