The history and activities of the FAO/CIHEAM Research and Development Network on Pasture and Fodder Crops
The network has been created in 1978. It aims at exchanging scientific and technical information, managing working groups on targeted research activities that lead to the development of common methodologies and results, development of research projects, publications, organization of technical stays and training of researchers. It includes two sub-networks: the ‘Mountain Pastures sub-network’ and the ‘Mediterranean Forage Resources subnetwork’. In 2010, it is coordinated by a network coordinator (Prof. Dr Alain Peeters. RHEA, Gentinnes, Belgium.
Importance, evolution, environmental impact and future challenges of grasslands and grassland-based systems in Europe
The importance and the diversity of grasslands and grassland-based systems are illustrated. Their multiple functions and values are highlighted. The main trends of the evolution of the systems in the last half-century are summarized including the effect of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union. Grasslands are compared with annual forage crops for forage production potential and impact on the environment. New challenges are analyzed especially in relation to agro-fuel production.
The sustainability of farming systems is currently under debate. Nowadays, agriculture has become not only a food provider but also a provider of goods and services for tourism, leisure, landscape management, nature conservation, etc. Agricultural management practices have a key impact on biodiversity conservation, a serious decline of many plant and animal species which are traditionally linked to agricultural areas has been demonstrated. Although not all impacts are negative, a need to identify and monitor pressures on biodiversity coming from agriculture has been identified.
In temperate areas, grasslands can occupy 50% of the agricultural area, providing up to 75% of fodder for cattle playing an essential role in farming systems. This important book provides comprehensive details of 40 major grass species. For each species included, an anatomical description is given together with full colour photographs and comprehensive details concerning the ecological requirements and agronomic properties species-by-species.
This book provides an invaluable reference source for any scientist involved in work with grass.
2. SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY
3. CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES
4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
5. THE PASTURE RESOURCE
6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF PASTURE RESOURCES
7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS
9. CONTACTS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
High Nature Value (HNV) farming is inherently valuable for biodiversity and forms a living cultural and natural heritage. HNV farmland comprises semi-natural pastures, meadows and orchards, as well as species-rich arable land, and often retains a wealth of landscape features. HNV farming is present in all European countries, with a diversity of types and extent.
In 1991, Terminology for Grazing Lands and Grazing Animals was published with the objective of ‘developing a consensus of clear definitions of terms used in the grazing of animals.’ This first effort involved primarily organiza- tions and agencies within the USA but included repre- sentation from New Zealand and Australia. It was the intent from the beginning to expand this to a truly international effort at a later date.
Throughout history and especially during the last century, mankind has made use of technological innovations (e.g. machinery, chemicals, genetic improvement) to increase levels of agricultural production. However, negative impacts of these developments were rarely considered. Nowadays, sufficient evidence exists that the actual production mode may not be sustainable, that is that farming systems may loose their production function in the long term.
Le bonheur est dans le pré fleuri! Les "prés fleuris" sont dans l'air du temps, en particulier dans les villes, auprès des professionnels des espaces verts et des jardiniers amateurs.