In Portugal there are many forest areas that can be easily recovered. In order to do this recovery the association between beef cattle production and silvo pastoral ecosystem is fundamental. This type of interaction can be founded in rural areas with less people and disattached from big population areas of country. Use of silvopastoral systems is an important tool to combat rural exodus and poverty in this areas because the association between beef cattle production and this systems allow producers to have two types of incomes sources: one from beef cattle production business and other from wood business. Wood is a product that can be used once the trees grow enough and it exploration is a very good way to prevent fires due to animal grazing and human action, giving also another source of income for producers. On the other hand this type of ecosytem is more complex and bring benefits to animal welfare due to an higher concentration of nutrients in the soil like nitrogen and phosphorus. The presence of such nutrients allows for the growth of a better pasture that is important to cattle metabolism and can improve quality of meat. Having areas with trees or other arable crops that can offer shadow "shelters" are also a good way to prevent body stress in cattle , once this animals are sensitive to high temperatures.
Portugal have a lot of arboreal areas that are abandoned and they have a lot of potential. Using these areas for beef cattle production to recover this ecosystem is a good way to promote environmental sustainability and improve animal welfare and producers` economic status.
We might say that major opportunities to farms rely on the fact that they may benefit from different income sources that allow producer for a better economic planning of beef cattle production, better animal welfare, few human labor required, better soils and forage and a rise in environmental sustainability.
Some challenges and bottlenecks can be mentioned. These areas have a higher concentration of older people and many young farmers don't want to move to these rural areas due to social restraints. Encourage these young farmers may be a solution to this problem but nowadays we have been witnessing that older farmers live and explore these areas.
For this implementation there is the need to:
1- Find a land area to settle and start such production system,
2- Learn how to do a proper crop management
Source: Revista Limousine 2018 nº26