Creating Quality Silvopastures From Wooded Areas

Silvopasturing is the sustainable (long-term) production of timber, forages and livestock on the same land. Silvopastures are dynamic, symbiotic and intensively managed grazing systems. Scattered shade trees in a pasture, loafing areas to escape the heat and flies, or dense woods with sparse understories of edible plants are not silvopastures. In silvopasture systems, no resource (trees, forages, livestock) is managed to the detriment of the others. Unlike woodland grazing of the past, animal impacts are controlled through intensive rotational grazing and the land is allowed to adequately rest and recover between grazing periods. The quality of a silvopasture is largely a reflection of the nutritional value and availability of edible woody (browse) and herbaceous (forage) plants in the understory. Open wooded areas that have not been managed as silvopastures often have lush vegetation in the understory, relatively little of which may be suitable livestock feed. This is largely due to the persistent, selective browsing by deer of the “good stuff” while ignoring the less-palatable “invasive” plants. Therefore, silvopasture managers must be able to recognize plant species and their relative feed value, as well

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