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What Works in Conservation 2015

 | 
William J. Sutherland
, 
Lynn V. Dicks
, 
Nancy Ockendon
, 
et al.

7. Enhancing soil fertility

7.4. Livestock and pasture farming

Texte intégral

Based on the collated evidence, what is the current assessment of the effectiveness of interventions on livestock and pasture farming systems for enhancing soil fertility?

Likely to be beneficial

● Reduce grazing intensity

Trade-off between benefit and harms

● Restore or create low input grasslands

Likely to be beneficial

Reduce grazing intensity

  • Compaction: One replicated study from Australia found compacted soils recovered when sheep were excluded for 2.5 years.
  • Erosion: Two replicated studies from New Zealand, and Syria (one also controlled) measured the effect of grazing animals on soil nutrient and sediment loss. Of these, one trial found increased soil carbon and nitrogen when grazing animals were excluded. One trial found higher soil phosphate levels, and less sediment erosion when grazing time in forage crops was reduced.
  • Soil types covered: clay, clay-loamy, loamy, silt loam.
  • Assessment: likely to be beneficial (effectiveness 51%; certainty 58%; harms 14%).

1http://www.conservationevidence.com/​actions/​901

Trade-off between benefit and harms

Restore or create low input grasslands

  • Biodiversity: One randomized, replicated trial in the Netherlands and one controlled trial from France found that restoring grasslands increased the diversity of soil animals. One trial also found higher microbial biomass, activity and carbon under grassland.
  • Soil types covered: sandy-loam, silty.
  • Assessment: trade-offs between benefit and harms (effectiveness 53%; certainty 59%; harms 32%).

2http://www.conservationevidence.com/​actions/​905

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