The silviculture of silvopastureThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Silvopasture is an agroforestry practice where livestock, forage, and timber are managed on the same parcel of land. The most common form of agroforestry in the Southeastern US is silvopasture. According to the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture, six of the top ten states in the Nation that report that they practice alley cropping or silvopasture are southern. Southern pines are well suited for use in silvopasture systems because of their relative ease of establishment and shorter rotation length. Considerable work has been completed to examine the suitability of southern pines such as loblolly and slash for use in agroforestry systems; however few studies have included longleaf pine. Few studies have addressed the need for modified silvicultural management in these systems. Established in 2008, twelve (four loblolly and eight longleaf), approximately 6 acre double row silvopasture demonstration sites were established on an old field site on the EA Hauss Demonstration forest near Atmore, Alabama. Since establishment, blocks were sampled five times for seedling survival, trees per acre and seedling/tree height, growth, and form. Results from this study have shown that early management practices including the use of prescribed fire can benefit the growth and form of longleaf pine silvopastures in this area. Also, the timing of pruning of both longleaf and loblolly silvopastures is addressed. Through this work we are better able to understand what is needed for the successful establishment and growth of longleaf and loblolly pine silvopastures in Alabama.