Silvopastoral implementation has been proposed as an environmentally and economically beneficial practice for livestock farmers in Central Minnesota. To assess the adoptability and merits of silvopastoral systems, three paddocks (open pasture, traditional woodlands, and silvopasture) were developed at three farms. Water infiltration was used as a metric for water and soil quality. Soil infiltration, moisture content, saturated hydraulic conductivity and physical soil properties were collected at each location. Subsurface nutrient transport was measured in situ and in a laboratory with a bromide tracer. Soil infiltration rates increased at 47% of test locations. The bromide tracer tests and soil texture results confirmed minimal secondary porosity present, inhibiting vertical nutrient transport. Vegetation and animal management, geology, soils, climate change and prior land use were discussed as possible influences for soil infiltration. Results suggest silvopasture implementation in this region can improve soil infiltration without increasing the risk of water pollution.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. October 2016. Major: Natural Resources Science and Management. Advisors: Joseph Magner, Diomides Zamora. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 336 pages.
A Comparison of Soil Infiltration Rates across Silvopasture, Open Pasture and Traditional Forest Management in Central Minnesota.
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