Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2007
Publication Date: N/A
Silvopastoral management attempts to optimize the biophysical interactions between pasture grasses, trees, and grazing animals to increase the productivity, efficiency, and sustainability of the entire system. Determining how best to space and thin trees within mixed hardwood silvopastures to provide for sufficient forage production and adequate soil nutrition requires detailed knowledge of resource capture, allocation, and distribution across system components. This study integrates chemical, biophysical, and microbiological/microfaunal assessments with spatial models to address the following questions: (1) What is the zone-of-influence of individual trees on soil properties relevant to forage production?; (2) At what spatial and temporal scale should soils be sampled to adequately quantify the patchiness resulting from uniform and non-uniform tree distributions?; and, (3) How can we incorporate knowledge about tree-derived spatial heterogeneity into soil management practices and risk assessment for silvopastoral systems? The utility of individual soil variables for management, monitoring, and/or risk assessment depends largely upon the process and the scale of interest. Understanding how soil properties vary in response to tree-forage interactions is a critical first step to developing sampling strategies that allow managers to better synchronize patterns of nutrient availability with the needs of forage and livestock production.