Silvopasture: a sustainable method to improve soil quality and productivity on farms in the North-West region of Ireland

Connolly, Rachel (2020) Silvopasture: a sustainable method to improve soil quality and productivity on farms in the North-West region of Ireland. Other thesis, Dundalk Institute of Technology.

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The FAO (2015) define agroforestry as a ‘collective name for land-use systems and technologies where woody perennials are deliberately used on the same land-management units as agricultural crops and/or animals’. The five main agroforestry practices that are recognised in the EU include riparian buffer strips, forest farming, home gardens and silvopastural and silvoarable systems (Mosqura-Losada et al. 2018). The objective of this thesis was to obtain a greater level of understanding of agroforestry and its role in improving marginal land, with particular focus on farmer awareness of this practice in the North-West region of Ireland. The thesis aimed to determine factors which may restrict the uptake of agroforestry, and identify actions that could be taken to increase involvement. Another objective was to compare land occupied by agroforestry with grassland. The survey distributed to farmers proved there is an appetite for agroforestry in the North-West of Ireland. However, work must be done by the government and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to incentivise this and make it attractive to those interested. More information must be made available as a lack of knowledge on the topic currently exists. Completing a soil sample analysis was very beneficial as it presented clear differences in the soils obtained from silvopasture and grassland sites. Silvopasture was superior in a number of areas including moisture content, porosity and earthworm populations. It was very evident that incorporating silvopasture into a grassland region can provide many benefits to the area. Inconclusive of all data obtained, it is apparent that the presence of silvopasture provides the area with many benefits in comparison to grassland swards. Farmers in the North-West are open to considering silvopasture as a method of land and productivity improvement but additional funding and incentives are required alongside information sources.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agroforestry; Silvopasture.
Subjects: Science
Research Centres: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Sean McGreal
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2021 15:41
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2021 15:41
License: Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0

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