A Paul Smith’s College professor and his student landed a new peer-reviewed journal article in the international scientific journal Agroforestry Systems.
Joseph Orefice, professor of forestry, and Leanne Ketner, a senior majoring in integrative studies at Paul Smith’s, investigated the use of silvopasture on farms in the Northeastern United States. The practice, which had never been documented in the region before, integrates livestock and trees within the same pasture, providing shelter and forage for the livestock while maximizing the use of the trees as productive and healthy crops.
To conduct the research, Orefice and Ketner investigated the structure, management and purpose of silvopastures in New York State and New England through a series of interviews and inventories of 20 different farms. They focused only on farms that produced trees as crops and raised livestock on the same land.
Most of the farmers interviewed said that their livestock received more shelter and had more grass to eat during droughts. On these same lands, farmers were able to harvest timber, firewood, fruit, nuts and maple sugar from the very same trees that provided benefits to livestock. However, the research also identified areas in need of better management, such as the long-term keeping of pigs in wooded areas, which is not a silvopasture practice.
John Caroll and Drew Conroy, Orefice’s colleagues from the University of New Hampshire, were coauthors on the study. They received financial support from the Northeastern States Research Cooperative.
To read the full journal article, click here.
Photo: A longhorn steer in a forest near Schroon Lake (photo by John Warren).