Silvopasture Approach Increases Production, Aids Resilience

The Guardian reports on a farm in Portugal that is using silvopasture to create a new montado, or diverse pre-medieval Portuguese system of farming. Alfredo Cunhal was managing his family’s land as a monocrop farmer, but then turned to a diverse system that uses herds of animals and productive trees and shrubs to produce numerous products. “This used to be a cork oak farm,” says Cunhal. “Now cork is just 5% of the turnover. Four years ago we were 100% dependent on the open market and wholesalers. Now nearly 50% of what we grow is sold directly to consumers. We have a butchery, bakery, olive oil press, smoker.” The operation’s complexity means that running it creates jobs and involves members of the community, even as the diversity contributes to doubling or even trebling production while improving the production capacity of the land.