Condition of the soil resource and provision of ecosystem services from a Brazilian Oxidic soil under conventional and integrated livestock-based systems
Integrated crop-livestock-forest systems promote soil health and deliver more ecosystem services (ES) compared to conventional livestock systems, although most studies on the subject poorly describe the soil component of these systems. This preliminary study
assessed the condition of the soil resource and its role in the provision of ecosystem services from a Brazilian Oxidic soil under conventional and integrated livestock-based systems. Five systems were studied from pasture only to partial and fully integrated croplivestock-forest systems. All are located on one of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) Research Farms. Data for the quantification of the soil resource and ES for each of these livestockbased systems were retrieved from previous studies
and used to quantify soil health, the provision of food and fibre and climate regulation, as well as report their impacts on receiving environment. Soil organic carbon content, a key component of soil health, was higher in the most integrated system. Soil-based grass yields were lower in integrated systems due to competition for resources from the trees or space taken by crops but had the highest overall provision of food and fibre. Carbon sequestration by trees in the integrated systems offsets enteric methane emissions from beef production, and this ES contributes to mitigating climate change. Future studies should include analysis of all the natural
resources and a wider range of soil-based ecosystem services, along with impacts on receiving environments
to provide a more complete picture of the performance of integrated livestock-based systems.
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