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Title: FORAGE RESPONSE TO LIGHT LEVEL IN A NORTHERN CONIFER SILVOPASTURE

Author
item Feldhake, Charles
item Neel, James - Jim
item Belesky, David
item Mathias, Erlend

Submitted to: North American Agroforestry Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2004
Publication Date: 8/27/2004
Citation: Feldhake, C.M., Neel, J.P., Belesky, D.P., Mathias, E.L. 2004. Forage response to light level in a northern conifer silvopasture. North American Agroforestry Conference. [CD-ROM]

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Appalachian Region is characterized by hilly topography and a humid temperate climate. In most areas agriculture is limited to pasture although the native climax vegetation is a highly species diverse forest. Developing appropriate silvopasture systems can potentially diversify and increase farm income. Information is needed on the yield response of forages to tree understories. The light environment of a conifer silvopasture was characterized by three methods, a hand-held photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) meter for quick measurements over a large area, fixed PAR meters recorded using data loggers for a large number of measurements over time, and hemispherical photography with software to calculate seasonal direct beam radiation. Plots were designated and harvested when forage reached 20-25 cm in height after which the entire area was grazed by sheep. There were limitations to all methods of quantifying radiation environment for predicting yield. Grazed silvopastures are dynamic with shifting patterns in yield in response to the changing seasonal environment and spatially variable soil and animal impacts.