Silvopastoral Systems

Maximizing the benefits of integrating trees with livestock production for multifunctional rural landscapes in Aotearoa

Thomas Mackay-Smith

Project Details Ngā taipitopito

Project Status:
Challenge funding:
Research duration:
July 2022 – December 2022

Collaborators Ngā haumi

Federated Farmers | Greater Wellington Regional Council | Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research | Massey University | Wairarapa Pūkaha to Kawakawa Alliance

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What are we doing?E aha ana mātou?

Silvopastoralism is the practice of integrating trees in a livestock production system.

Soil conservation has been the main driver of silvopastoralism in New Zealand’s hill country, but other benefits may include cultural impacts, animal welfare, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration, hydrological impacts, soil nutrient effects, and climate resilience. An additional benefit may be the potential increased pasture production under tree canopies, which has been found around the globe, including in a recent New Zealand study on kānuka tree-pasture interactions.

This project will identify knowledge gaps and research needs related to biophysical mechanisms that influence silvopastoral outcomes. It will consider ways in which silvopastoral systems can impact environmental, economic, and cultural land management outcomes in Aotearoa, and identify barriers to adoption.

How can the research be used? Ka pēhea e whai take ai te rangahau?

  • This project will review the benefits that silvopastoral trees may provide to pastoral systems.
  • Biophysical mechanisms that influence the outcomes of silvopastoral land management systems will be identified and linkages illustrated in a biophysical process diagram.
  • Two workshops with focus groups will be held with stakeholders to discuss the potential of different forms of silvopastoral systems in Aotearoa and barriers to adoption. This process will inform what the wider impact of silvopastoralism may be to Aotearoa.
  • Recommendations will be made regarding future research needs, as well as pinpointing where the opportunities and challenges lie for silvopastoralism to add both environmental and economic value to pastoral farms.

Related research updates Ngā pānui mō te rangahau nei

Research team Te hunga i whai wāhi mai

Project Lead/Science Lead
Raphael Spiekermann
Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research
Te Ao Māori Lead
Laise Harris
Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research
Thomas Mackay-Smith
Massey University
Dan Richards
Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research
Nikki Harcourt
Manaaki Whenua
Lucy Burkitt
Massey University
Esther Dijkstra
Wairarapa Pūkaha to Kawakawa Alliance
David Boone
Greater Wellington Regional Council
Elizabeth McGruddy
Federated Farmers

Tools & resources Ngā utauta me ngā rauemi

Journal Article

An integrative approach to silvopastoral system design: perspectives, potentials and principles

Silvopastoral systems have complex impacts on a diverse range of outcomes, making it essential to design these systems using an integrative approach to maximise positive…
View Journal Article

How silvopastoral design could vary spatially within a farm

This schematic diagram illustrates how silvopastoral design could vary spatially within a farm and how the design relates to desired outcomes. A typical farm will…
View Infographic

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