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Silvopasture: A Guide to Managing Grazing Animals, Forage Crops, and Trees in a Temperate Farm Ecosystem Contributor(s): Gabriel, Steve (Author) , Toensmeier, Eric (Foreword by)

Silvopasture: A Guide to Managing Grazing Animals, Forage Crops, and Trees in a Temperate Farm Ecosystem Contributor(s): Gabriel, Steve (Author) , Toensmeier, Eric (Foreword by)

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Silvopasture: A Guide to Managing Grazing Animals, Forage Crops, and Trees in a Temperate Farm Ecosystem
Contributor(s): Gabriel, Steve (Author) , Toensmeier, Eric (Foreword by)

ISBN: 1603587314    EAN: 9781603587310
US SRP: $39.95 US 
Binding: Paperback
Pub Date: June 14, 2018
Physical Info: 0.6" H x 9.9" L x 7.9" W (1.9 lbs) 320 pages

A system for regenerating land, storing carbon, and creating climate resilience

The concept of silvopasture challenges our notions of both modern agriculture and land use. For centuries, European settlers of North America have engaged in practices that separate the field from the forest, and even the food from the animal. Silvopasture systems integrate trees, animals, and forages in a whole-system approach that offers several benefits to the farmer and the environment. Such a system not only offers the promise of ecological regeneration of the land, but also an economical livelihood and even the ability to farm extensively while buffering the effects of a changing climate: increased rainfall, longer droughts, and more intense storm events.

Silvopasture, however, involves more than just allowing animals into the woodlot. It is intentional, steeped in careful observation skills, and flexible to the dynamics of such a complex ecology. It requires a farmer who understands grassland ecology, forestry, and animal husbandry. The farmer needn't be an expert in all of these disciplines, but familiar enough with them to make decisions on a wide variety of time scales. A silvopasture system will inevitably look different from year to year, and careful design coupled with creativity and visioning for the future are all part of the equation.

In this book, farmer Steve Gabriel offers examples of diverse current systems that include:

  • A black locust plantation for fence posts coupled with summer grazing pastures for cattle in central New York;
  • Oxen and pigs used to clear forested land in New Hampshire to create space for new market gardens and orchards;
  • Turkeys are used for controlling pests and fertilization on a cider orchard and asparagus farm in New York; and
  • Sheep that graze the understory of hybrid chestnut and hickory trees at a nut nursery in Minnesota.

All of these examples share common goals, components, and philosophies. The systems may take several years to establish, but the long-term benefits include healthier animals and soils, greater yields, and the capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon better than forests or grasslands alone.

For all these reasons and more, Silvopasture offers farmers an innovative and ecological alternative to conventional grazing practices.

Contributor Bio: Gabriel, Steve

Steve Gabriel, author of Farming the Woods (with Ken Mudge), is an ecologist, educator, and forest farmer who has lived most of his life in the Finger Lakes region of New York. His mission is to reconnect people of all ages with the natural world and to provide the tools for good management of forests and other landscapes. He currently splits his time between working for the Cornell Small Farms Program and developing the farm he runs with his wife Elizabeth, Wellspring Forest Farm, which produces shiitake mushrooms, duck eggs, pastured lamb, nursery trees, and maple syrup.


Contributor Bio:Toensmeier, Eric

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens. Eric is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, a Senior Fellow with Project Drawdown, and an international trainer. He presents in English and Spanish throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. Eric has studied useful perennial plants and their roles in agroforestry systems for over two decades, and cultivates about 300 species in his urban garden. His writing can be viewed online at perennialsolutions.org.

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