Developing silvopastoral systems and their effects on diversity of fauna

Abstract

Silvopastoral systems, where stock graze between widely spaced trees, are a viable land use option in the British Isles. An experiment (the National Network Silvopastoral Experiment—NNE) was set up at 6 sites in the late 1980s to quantify outputs from and to study the ecological interactions occurring between components of the system. Studies were carried out on the effect of developing silvopastoral systems on certain invertebrate groups, including carabid beetles and spiders and on the number of individuals and species of birds. The common protocols adopted across sites enable broad conclusions on the impact of such systems on wildlife to be made. The presence of trees on grassland attracted invertebrates of epigeal groups which may have provided an enhanced food supply which attracted birds. Spiders responded more rapidly after planting of the silvopastoral systems than did carabid beetles. It was concluded that, even at this early stage, silvopastoral systems have an impact on birds: birds normally associated with woodland are being attracted to silvopasture along with birds normally found in open fields, although there are problems in the scale of evaluation in the assessment of impact. However, it has been shown that even relatively recently established silvopastoral systems can significantly enhance biodiversity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Agnew RDM, Sibbald A (1996) The avifauna of the Glensaugh silvopastoral site. Agroforest Forum 7(3):20–21

    Google Scholar 

  2. Crowe SR, McAdam JH (1992) Sward dynamics in a mature poplar agroforestry system grazed by sheep. Asp Appl Biol 29:413–418

    Google Scholar 

  3. Cuthbertson A, McAdam JH (1996) The effect of tree density and species on carabid beetles in a range of pasture – tree agroforestry systems on a lowland site. Agroforest Forum 7(3):17–20

    Google Scholar 

  4. Dennis P Shellard LJF, Agnew RDM 1996 Shifts in arthropod species assemblages in relation to silvopastoral establishment in upland pastures. Agroforest Forum 7(3):14–17

    Google Scholar 

  5. Eason WR (1988) Effect of tree litter on sward botanical composition and growth. In: Proceedings of a Research Meeting held at the Welsh Agricultural College, Aberystwyth 13–15 September 1988. UK British Grassland Society, Hurley, UK

  6. Greenberg CH, Forrest TG (2003) Seasonal abundance of ground – occurring macroarthropods in forest and canopy gaps in the southern Appalachians. Southeast Nat 2(4):591–608

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Greenberg CH, McGrane A (1996) A comparison of relative abundance and biomass of ground-dwelling arthropods under different forest management practices. For Ecol Man 89:31–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Hawke MF, Gillingham AG (1997) Changes in understorey pasture composition in agroforestry regimes in New Zealand. In: Proceedings of the 1997 XVIII International Grassland Congress, Saskatchewan, Canada

  9. Johnston R (1996) The effect of tree density and species on spiders in a range of lowland pasture-tree agroforestry systems. Unpublished thesis. Queen’s University of Belfast, UK

  10. Jones D, Eason WR (1995) The influence of a developing agroforestry system on bird population dynamics. Q J For 89(2):120–125

    Google Scholar 

  11. McAdam JH (1996) Vegetation change and management in temperate agroforestry systems. Asp Appl Biol 44:95–100

    Google Scholar 

  12. McAdam JH, Hoppe GM, Toal L, Whiteside L (1999) The use of wide-spaced trees to enhance faunal diversity in managed grasslands. Grassl Sci Eur 4:293–296

    Google Scholar 

  13. Mosquera-Losada MR, McAdam JH, Rigueiro-Rodriguez A (eds) (2005) Silvopastoralism sustainable land management, CABI Publishing, Wallingford

    Google Scholar 

  14. Nwaigbo LC, Sibbald AR, Hudson G (1995) Tree-scale trends in available soil nutrient and cone penetration resistance in a grazed hybrid larch (Larix eurolepis) silvopastoral system. Agroforest Forum 6(2):48–50

    Google Scholar 

  15. Poulin B, Lefebvre G (1997) Estimation of arthropods available to birds: effect of trapping technique, prey distribution, and bird diet. J Field Ornithol 68(3):426–442

    Google Scholar 

  16. Rushdon SD, Luff ML, Eyre MD (1989) Effects of pasture improvement and management on the ground beetle and spider communities of upland grasslands. Appl Ecol 26:489–503

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Sibbald AR, Sinclair F (1990) A review of agroforestry research in progress in the UK. Agrofor Abstr 3:149–164

    Google Scholar 

  18. Sibbald AR, Dick J, Iason GR (1995) The effects of the presence of widely spaced trees on the behaviour of sheep. Agroforest Forum 6(2):22–25

    Google Scholar 

  19. Sibbald AR, Eason WR, McAdam JH, Hislop AM (2001) The establishment phase of a silvopstoral national network experiment in the United Kingdom. Agroforest Sys 39:39–53

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Söderström B, Svensson B, Vessby K, Glimskär A (2001) Plants, insects and birds in semi-natural pastures in relation to local habitat and landscape factors. Biodivers Conserv 10:1839–1863

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Teklehaimanot Z, Sinclair F, Jones M (2002) Tree and livestock productivity in relation to tree-planting configuration in a silvopastoral system in North Wales, UK. Agroforest Sys 56:47–55

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Toal L, McAdam JH (1995) Avifauna in establishing silvopastoral systems in Northern Ireland. Agroforest Forum 6(2):25–30

    Google Scholar 

  23. Wilson JD, Morris AJ, Arroyo BE, Clark SC, Bradbury RB (1999) A review of the abundance and diversity of invertebrates and plant foods of granivorous birds in northern Europe in relation to agricultural change. Agric Ecosyst Environ 75:13–30

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The provision of core funding by the organisations associated with the NNE is gratefully acknowledged,—DARD, DEFRA, MLURI, UWB, IGER and the Forestry Authority. (IGER work was also funded by DEFRA). Additional support funding from the EU (Contract AIR3-CT92-0134) contributed to some of the data collected.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. H. Mcadam.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mcadam, J.H., Sibbald, A.R., Teklehaimanot, Z. et al. Developing silvopastoral systems and their effects on diversity of fauna. Agroforest Syst 70, 81–89 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-007-9047-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Birds
  • Carabids
  • Invertebrates
  • Spiders
  • Silvopastoral systems