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An integrative approach to silvopastoral system design: perspectives, potentials and principles

journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-21, 03:54 authored by Thomas Mackay-Smith, Raphael Spiekermann, Dan Richards, Nichola Harcourt, Lucy Burkitt

Silvopastoral systems have complex impacts on a diverse range of outcomes, making it essential to design these systems using an integrative approach to maximise positive impacts to farms. This paper comprises firstly a systematic review of global silvopastoral processes, and secondly stakeholder-driven synthesis of key opportunities and challenges for future silvopastoralism situated in the context of New Zealand. The systematic review demonstrated that although under-researched, livestock interactions can have overriding influences on the system, and that the traditional functional traits that are typically deemed important for selection (N2-fixing trees v non N2-fixing trees, evergreen v deciduous) do not show consistent positive impacts on the agroecological environment. From the New Zealand silvopastoral participatory case study, including the stakeholder workshop, we synthesised 5 key principles that should be considered in future system designs. These were:

(1) silvopastoral systems are complex and require holistic management;

(2) the views, values and experiences of local people are deeply connected to silvopastoral system design;

(3) spatial heterogeneity in environmental and social conditions requires locally specific decisions;

(4) understanding of ecological processes must underpin all management decisions; and

(5) the complexity and spatial heterogeneity present in silvopastoral systems requires high-resolution data and tools.


Funded by the New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment's Our Land and Water National Science Challenge (Toitū te Whenua, Toiora te Wai) as part of project Silvopastoral Systems


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  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No

Journal title

New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research

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