Alternative methods for management of meadowsand pastures and use of the harvested biomass

Georg Carlsson, Sven-Erik Svensson, Urban Emanuelsson

Research output: Book/ReportReport

Abstract

Meadows and pastures – semi-natural grasslands – provide unique habitats and are extremely valuable for biological diversity. It is currently very challenging to maintain meadows and pastures of high quality in Sweden, mainly owing to the decreasing number of grazing animals and the decreasing demand of grasslands for animal feed production. This report summarises existing information on potential new management methods for Swedish meadow and pasture land and how harvested material can be used as a resource in society. The report is based on data obtained from scientific and popular literature, the authors’ experiences within the area and information originating from ongoing technological development work and practical applications. The challenges for conserving Swedish meadows and pastures consist mainly of identifying rational practices for managing grazing animals and for efficient collection and use of biomass. We identified the following management methods and areas of application as being particularly interesting for further analysis: 1. Flexible systems such as extensive grazing varied systems with different management methods in different years (rotation pattern), a combination of different methods such as machine cutting and burning, or mowing in combination with grazing. 2. Machine-friendly management of silvopasture and tree-meadow agroforestry systems – a combination of meadow vegetation and trees for biological diversity, carbon sequestration and production of biomass (both meadow and tree biomass). 3. Small-scale, case-specific technology – mowing and removal of biomass from small and irregular fields through a combination of motorised manual and rational solutions. This will require development of methods for cutting, collection and transport. 4. Coordination and development of systems for using meadow biomass for energy production. Use of meadow biomass as a biogas substrate provides particularly great environmental advantages and permits efficient use of resources by supplying energy and a nutrient-rich residue (biodigestate) while maintaining traditional meadows. A number of new studies show little or no differences when mowing is carried out with slicing or clipping implements (scythe and blade mowing machines) compared with rotating implements (rotary flail machines or strimmers). This finding opens up for mechanical management of meadows that would otherwise risk being abandoned.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAlnarp
PublisherFakulteten för landskapsarkitektur, trädgårds- och växtproduktionsvetenskap, Sveriges lantbruksuniveritet
ISBN (Print)978-91-87117-72-5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameLandskapsarkitektur trädgård växtproduktionsvetenskap
No.2014:11

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Agricultural Science (40101)
  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use (40504)

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