Do silvopastoral cattle farms improve ecological conditions and farm fertility?
Cecilia will use this project to generate a better understanding of the relationship between dry tropical forest restoration and cattle ranching on the Azuero peninsula in Panama. Cecilia aims to compare cattle farms with varying tree coverage (silvopasture vs. grass pasture) and determine how an increased basal area impacts herbaceous species coverage (valuable cattle forage) and soil carbon, fertility, and stability. This data will be analyzed along with data about neighboring riparian forests in order to gain more insight about how an improved land stewardship method impacts these valuable ecosystems and aids the productivity of the farms.
These results will provide critical information about how these forests regenerate and inform both scientists and farmers about the levels of management needed in order to see improvement. Overall, she hopes to find common ground for improving both environmental conservation and agriculture simultaneously.