Working  groups


WG 1) Large scale trends: assessing and mapping at the regional and global scales


Kate Sherren, School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Guillermo Martínez-Pastur, Independent researcher at CADIC CONICET Ushuaia, Argentina


Forest ecosystems are impacted by multiple uses (e.g. agroforestry) and influenced by global drivers. Wide-ranging and accelerating effects on the condition of forest ecosystems and their potential services result from: climate change, urban sprawl, agricultural abandonment, intensification of forestry and agriculture, invasion of exotics, changes in energy generation and use, expanding infrastructure networks, increased habitat destruction and degradation. They affect, in turn, ecosystem processes (disturbance regimes, productivity, carbon sequestration), structure, biodiversity and human well-being in forest ecosystems and landscapes. Rapidly changing landscapes therefore expand the frontiers of both current and future activities of scientists and managers. At a local scale, multi-functionality of forests (wood harvesting, hunting, pasture, wildlife conservation, recreation) means that many different and sometimes conflicting goals exist regarding their management purposes. At the global scale, social factors, economic pressures and climate change dramatically influence forested landscapes.

The integrative and pluralistic framework of landscape ecology may substantially facilitate the management and conservation of forests. Landscape ecology considers the enormous ecological and economic changes occurring across the globe, primarily driven by the increasing demands of people and their intensified activities. A landscape perspective is needed whenever landscape spatial patterns can be expected to have a significant effect on forest use efficiency and sustainability. Several studies have demonstrated that management of forest ecosystems should not exclusively occur at a single scale. Managing forest landscapes is therefore a complex practice of understanding the critical patterns of the landscape and their reciprocal interrelationship through processes. At a landscape level implies focusing on mosaics of patches and long-term changes in these mosaics to integrate ecological values, yet still conserve the economic and social purposes of the forests.

This Working Group recognises the role of landscape ecology, particularly within the context of emerging physical, social, and political drivers of change which influence forest systems and the services they provide. We want to discuss papers that deal with the analyses of the trends in agroforestry management at different scales, including the assessing and mapping for impact, benefits, ecosystem services valuation, monitoring or evaluation of the forest resources.


WG 2) Landscape assessment and classification: consistency in fuzzy patterns


Emilio Padoa-Schioppa, Milano University, Italy

Janez Pirnat, Ljubljana University, Slovenia

Rob Jongman, Wageningen University & Research Centre, The Netherlands


Silvo-pastoral systems are widespread in the world. The history of these landscapes is different from natural landscapes. Especially in regions where climate is extreme, where farming systems have to deal with drought in part of the year they have been maintained, while elsewhere they are replaced by other, more productive systems. The combination of crops and animal breeding is characteristic. The challenge of this working goup is to assess the sustainability of these systems as they are both ecologically and economically fragile. It is needed to get an insight in the physical conditions, climate, relief, soil and water availability on the one hand, but also in the socio-economic position of these landscapes, including the market for its products, its technical perspectives and its cultural and social history and future.

It is also important to classify and compare these systems as they might know convergent or divergent developments. There are traditional silvo-pastoral systems in Asia onto the Mediterranean in Europe such as dehesas in Spain or montados in Portugal and much younger systems in the Chaco in Argentina and Paraguay. What do they have in common and what makes them different or unique, what characterises them and how can they be classified into a regional or global system? This would allow to learn from each other, which landscape structures and processes are important, where and why things went wrong in the past and what can be the future. It is important to know these aspects to the design silvo-pastoral systems of the future especially under these fragile environmental and economic conditions.

The future of silvo-pastoral systems might be in conversion to cotton or cattle breeding or in the production of special products. Where industrialisation of agriculture is common to feed the world, these systems can add special niche products to regional and global economy. It has its own products and characteristics. The linkage between nature, economy and culture is expected to be essential to make the difference. The products are an expression of the historically grown knowledge of a region, preferences of the available products that should be passed on to the future. But how can that be done, what is the people-planet-profit relationship of silvo-pastoral systems for the coming century? The key concept of this working group is to assess which combination of farming and management in the context of this special environment and culture makes these silvo-pastoral systems sustainable.


WG 3) Grazing systems, livestock management and animal products


Elvira Sales Baptista, ICAAM (Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)/University of Évora, Portugal

Zahed Shakeri, Center for Research & Development of Northern Zagros Forestry, Department of Forestry, University of Kurdistan, Iran


Domestic animals played an important role in the development of civilization and rising human society from primitive conditions to more settled life styles. For thousands of years everyone was in touch daily with domestic animals and usually each family had a few animals. Demand for livestock products is growing fast, and livestock, through their multiple functions, are a source of revenue of most of the rural population in the developing world. To understand vulnerabilities and enhance resilience of extensive livestock farming systems, an integrative research and extension approach, addressing the management effects on productivity and the environmental footprints of these production systems is needed. Emphasis of this section will be on the knowledge and available tools that will allow farmers to evaluate risks and increase resilience to dynamic conditions.

Due to the high diversity of domestic animals and silvo-pastoral systems, we expect many participants across the world especially from undeveloped and developing countries. This section will consider the livestock production at a local scale, with focus on the practice and variety of silvo-pastoral systems. Topics covered will include 1) livestock  breed selection and stocking; 2) grazing behavior, diet selection and grazing impact; 3) grazing management practices including stocking rates, fencing and supplement distribution; 4) silvo-pastoral sustainability, with special interest in tree regeneration, biodiversity, health and profitability; 5) distinctiveness of grazing systems products such as beef meat, sheep, goat cheese and special products (like pork meat, mohair etc.).


WG 4) Forest management and modeling: silviculture, tree management and planning


Isabel Canelas, INIA (Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias), Spain

Margarida Tomé, Forest Research Centre (CEF), University of Lisbon, Portugal


Silvo-pastoral systems are highly complex as they share different trees, shrubs and herbaceous strata in space and time. The existence of wild and domestic livestock within the system attaches to this complexity. Silviculture that is applied to each of these agro-silvo-pastoral systems includes management techniques that must optimize several productions in time and space which may compromise its sustainability and conservation. These forest systems are managed to share direct productions of wood, firewood, forages and other non-wood forest products as cork, acorn andpine nuts, for example, but also cattle and game. Non direct production as recreation, landscape or biodiversity should be included too. This multiplicity of products and services leads to several alternative management approaches each adapted to prioritize some of the products and/or services.

In a context where forests are in a non-stationary state related to forest expansion and climate change impact, and where the demand for biomass is increasing, there is a lack of tools to elaborate forest adaptation scenarios and designing sustainable forest management pathways for the future. Management and planning of these agro-silvo-pastoral systems are very complex and specific and require effective and specific tools for its development, including modelling of forest ecosystems dynamics and of the respective products and services. These tools and strategies therefore have to define ways to cope with both long-term trends and short-term hazards, induced by climate change, and to maintain direct wood and non-wood forest (products) and indirect production (services).

As a consequence, the aim of this working group will be to give a comprehensive view of the whole agro-silvo-pastoral systems including innovative and smart forest management models which are defined as a combination of forest management practices at stand scale and forest management systems at landscape and regional scales, integrating the management of its different components and environmental aspects and modelling its production and dynamics in the framework of a sustained forest-based bio-economy.


WG 5) Pests and diseases


Manuela Branco, Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA), School of Agriculture/University of Lisbon, Portugal


In silvo-pastoral systems, characterized by trees at low density coexisting with crops, pasture or shrubs, the effects on pests and diseases are mixed. These systems frequently lead to an increase in the diversity of invertebrates, birds and small mammals which may exert a biocontrol effect on insect pests with a top-down regulatory result and an increase of resilience against disturbances. Such biodiversity benefits could have a positive impact both on trees and agricultural crops underneath. Still, negative effects may arise from some shrub species acting as alternate hosts for pests and pathogens, which in turn may affect trees.

Both human activities and environmental factors may bring vulnerability to pests and diseases. Both soil mobilization and intensive grazing increase difficulties for tree regeneration. Invertebrates and vertebrates that feed on seeds (pre-dispersal) and seedlings (regeneration pests) may exacerbate this effect, compromising the already low regeneration. In some cases agricultural intensification has deteriorated soil and habitat quality with consequences on tree physiology resulting in higher susceptibility to some pests and pathogens. Further a decrease in biodiversity may cause a release from top-down regulatory processes and originate emerging outbreaks such as of defoliators. Also climate conditions, in particular drought in arid and semi-arid regions and fire events may increase tree vulnerability and food resources to pests, in particular wood borers, ambrosia and bark beetles.

In this working group we invite contributions combining ecological aspects with pest and disease control, addressing the following topics: (1) Seed and regeneration pests and diseases; (2) vulnerability to insect pests and pathogens in regard to climate change; (3) Impacts of forest management on the control of insect pests; (4) Biodiversity and biocontrol processes in silvo-pastoral systems; (5) Environmental pressures and emerging invasive pest species;


WG 6) Wild fires and natural hazards


Antonello Migliozi University Frederico II, Naples, Italy

Paulo Fernandes, Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences (CITAB), Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro University, Portugal


Seasonally dry terrestrial ecosystems are fire prone, especially where plant productivity is high. Animal grazing has been shown to exert a control on fire spread and area burned in grasslands and grass-dominated woodlands but much less is known about fire-grazing interactions in silvo-pastoral systems. Also, the coexistence of grazing animals and trees poses particular fire management problems. This working group welcomes contributions on any wildland fire-related topic in relation to silvo-pastoral systems, namely on:

  • Fire behaviour and fire regime characteristics
  • Wildfire effects on soils and vegetation
  • Post-fire restoration
  • Fire-adapted sylviculture
  • Prescribed burning and pastoral management
  • Grazing and fire hazard mitigation
  • System resilience to changing fire regimes
  • Adaptive fire management


WG 7) Water and carbon relations and climate change

Jan Cermák, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic

Teresa Soares David, National Institute for Agricultural and Veterinary Research (INIAV), Portugal

Margarida Vaz, ICAAM (Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)/University of Évora, Portugal


Silvo-pastoral systems in arid and semi-arid areas face recurrent seasonal droughts, which are likely to increase in severity and duration due to climate change. In these systems scattered trees coexist and interact with a stratum of crops, pasture and shrubs. Mechanisms of competition or facilitation for water, light, and nutrients may exist between vegetation types. Drought stress impacts on ecosystem productivity, composition and sustainability. In this respect, soil/lithology traits (physical and chemical) and plant physiology related to the water for carbon trade-off are also critical. Management options to promote the sustainable use of resources must rely on a holistic ecosystem approach, supported by an adequate process-based knowledge on the functioning of trees and short vegetation.

The aim of this working group is to bring together knowledge on the water relations, carbon sequestration and allocation, and nutrient use on water-limited silvo-pastoral systems and on their liable changes under the foreseen climate scenarios. We also encourage contributions on the role of roots, microbial interactions and phenology under enhanced drought.


WG 8) Wood and non wood products, transformation and industry


Fernando Pulido, University of Extremadura, Plasencia, Spain

Helena Pereira, University of Lisboa, Forest Research Centre (CEF), Portugal

The multifunctional silvo-pastoral systems allow a large diversity of products that provide their economic richness while simultaneously offering a potential of diversification and adaptation to changing environmental conditions and markets.

These systems are specific because both wood and non-wood products are important in production and economic returns, as also in sustaining the functioning of the systems and their social sustainability. This brings complexity since each product has its own characteristics: production amount and constraints, transformation requirements and scale, existing or potential markets. There are also interacting factors mostly of complementarily but occasionally of conflict.

What are the products we are talking about?

  • One very special non-wood product is emblematic in the silvo-pastoral systems of the western Mediterranean basin and the base of an important industrial chain: the cork. All aspects dealing with the sustainability of cork production and its quality as an industrial raw-material should be addressed, either related to climate changes as well as to markets dynamics.
  • The wood component has also to be taken as a valuable raw-material for sawmills and further processing into wood products such as furniture or floors, as well as also for bioenergy.
  • A large array of non-wood products is present – nuts and fruits, mushrooms, aromatic substances and honey – that also allow the presence of activities such as hunting or specialized tourism.

When addressing the wood and non-wood products of silvo-pastoral systems, a full resource use is certainly an underlying concept, as well as that of sustainability, but bearing in mind that they rely on a sound economy.


WG 9) Biodiversity conservation and ecological functioning


Margarida Santos-Reis, Coordinator of the Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Change (Ce3C), University of Lisbon, Portugal

Vasilios P. Papanastasis Laboratory of Rangeland Ecology, Faculty of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece


Through time human activities have led to significant impacts on the landscape and among these agricultural and farming practices are of upmost importance either because they serve humanity by providing essential biological resources for human well-being or, when based in multi-use and in traditional land-use practices, they create complex systems holding a large part of today’s world biological diversity. Traditional agro-silvo-pastoral systems are however in peril due to recent extensification / intensification trends which primary effect is the transition towards silvo-pastoral, or even purely forestry, systems with foreseen consequences to biodiversity conservation.

To reconcile the high food demands required by human populations with the needs and principles of nature conservation, two contrasting alternatives have been put forward. One that promotes the use of wildlife-friendly farming practices, integrating in a single place food production with biodiversity conservation (land-sharing), and another that separates in space the land for food production from that allocated for conservation (land-sparing). Both perspectives have influenced prevailing attitudes about conservation of biological diversity and traditional management of biological resources.

In spite of recent contributions on the land-sharing/land-sparing debate, supporting evidences are still lacking particularly on land use strategies to balance agriculture and biodiversity conservation that consider ecologically sound management (based on ecosystems function), knowledge on organisms interactions/ interdependencies, people’s needs, local socioeconomic constraints, cultural values and trade-offs. This working group aims to provide a broad overview on the main challenges posed to agro-silvo-pastoral systems across the world, such as the identification of suitable indicators/practices, data quality issues, and spatially-explicit approaches framed by the reconciliation ecology science. We expect to bring together the science and practice sectors to stimulate fruitful discussion and to provide a synthesis of approaches and recommendations to contribute to the systems long-term sustainability.


WG 10) Ecosystem services as an enabling framework towards the transition to sustainable silvopastoral systems


Graciela Rusch, NINO (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research), Norway

José Munoz-Rojas, ICAAM (Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)/University de Évora, Portugal

Sandra Luque, Research Director at National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA), France; Coordinator of IUFRO Landscape Ecology Working Group


There is a general consensus that land-use practices that have shaped agro-ecosystems in the decades since the 1950’s have had a focus on the provision of food and fibres disregarding the role of important ecological functions that support the provision of these goods, thus jeopardizing their long-term sustainability. Priority to food and fibre production has also neglected other important functions such as regulation of water flows, water purification, food provision in other systems (e.g. fresh water) and maintenance of locally adapted genetic diversity, in addition to multiple cultural services, including a higher capacity to cope with environmental variability and economic fluctuations. Assessing context-dependent sustainability (ecological, social and economic) is necessary to explore pathways towards high-nature value agro-ecosystems.

Silvo-pastoral systems possess characteristics that can enable the fulfilment of multiple functions by pastoral-ecosystems including economic and non-economic, private and public goods and services. However, the transformation of current land-use practices requires changes at several levels including farm-level decision making and the design of instruments that provide suitable context conditions and stimulate change. These changes need to be supported by the best-possible knowledge at the interface of the functioning of silvo-pastoral ecosystems and the design and alignment of policy instrument mixes. Hence, there is a need to gather existing knowledge, innovate to achieve technical and economic feasibility and explore new modes of governance that can facilitate the transition to and the sustainability of multifunctional systems. This knowledge needs to be centered on the local ecological, socio-economic and institutional conditions since current design and evaluation of agri-environment schemes and Rural Development Plans are often criticized for the difficulties of identifying the most effective schemes or “best practice examples”, since results are often highly context dependent.

This working group covers a range of studies that advance the knowledge spanning from the bio-physical functions that underpin the provision of ecosystem services in silvo-pastoral systems to the societal benefits and costs associated with these functions, and the integration of this knowledge in policy instrument design.


WG 11) Economics of silvo-pastoral systems, including new markets


João Pinto Guerreiro, Research Professor at Faculdade de Economia da Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal,

José Luis Oviedo, Tenure research at Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP-CSIC), Madrid, Spain

Miguel Bugalho, Associate Researcher Centre for Applied Ecology School of Agriculture University of Lisbon, Portugal

Pablo Campos, Research Professor at Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP-CSIC), Madrid, Spain


World trends in over/under grazing on silvo-pastoral systems lead to the degradation and destruction of environmental assets and the economic services that these ecosystems provide. In industrialized countries, the commercial decline of traditional silvo-pastoral working landscapes is the main force to livestock under grazing, creating potential opportunities for new markets such as hunting recreation, non-industrial landowner amenities, carbon offsets or public conservation funds. In low industrialized countries with fast modern agricultural expansion, family livestock keeper in communal lands tend to over graze traditional silvo-pastoral landscapes that are prone to fragmentation. In this scenario, livestock keeper families suffer the loss of grazing property rights, and the abandonment of traditional livestock grazing migration become restricted by government land use policy failures.

This working group aims to present applied research on economic analysis of the world silvo-pastoral systems at the frontier of knowledge. Contributions are open to single or multiple products and enterprises supported by grazing and other ecosystem uses. Both private and public economic uses are key issues for government policies on improving natural environment sustainability and rural employment. One of the main challenges in the management of silvo-pastoral systems is to value cultural and regulating ecosystem services and products. These services are becoming of increasing importance for landowner compensations, the creation of new market and the design governmental or NGO budgets and programs for conservation policies. These policies target trade-offs among provisioning, regulating and cultural services through compensations in silvo-pastoral systems. Many public regulating and cultural services depend on the existence of provisioning services, which relies on ecosystems products with low or negative manufactured incomes and require public funding and payments for ecosystems (PES) schemes for their long-term sustainability The challenge to maintain sustainable world silvo-pastoral systems on new marketable products and increasing compensations from governmental and NGO budgets have promoted the demand from public academic and policy stakeholders to develop new environmental accounting from single ecosystem product to farm, regional and nation scales. World nations agreed in Nagoya Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) that “By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems”. The later Aichi Biodiversity Target 2 demands to apply environmental valuation to non-market silvo-pastoral systems products, including owners’ private amenities auto-consumptions.


WG 12) Innovation in remote sensing and image analysis


Adélia Sousa, ICAAM (Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)/University of Évora, Portugal

Peter Surovy, Prague University, Czech Republic

Sérgio Godinho, ICAAM (Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)/University of Évora, Portugal


The topic of this working group is the remote sensed data from: satellite imagery, airplane imagery and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) imagery including but not limited to: optical images, thermal cameras, laser scans, multispectral cameras and their application into following areas:

  • Inventory purposes in silvo-pastoral systems
  • Detection of animals and counting of cattle
  • Disease mapping and monitoring
  • Use of remote sensing for terrestrial inventory
  • Detection of fires and estimation fire spread
  • Detection of fire hazard and cartography on endangered zones
  • Laser scanning and its application for inventory and measurements

And including the following topics:

  • Innovations in UAV constructions and telemetry
  • Sensorial innovations in RS data acquisition
  • Processing and algorithms for remotely sensed data
  • Advances in data fusion from different sensors

Other topics regarding the remote sensing in silvo-pastoral systems are welcomed.


WG 13) Integrated social sciences approaches to silvopastoralism


Lynn Huntsinger, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Tobias Plieninger, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Silvo-pastoral land management depends on robust social and ecological knowledge. Traditionally, silvopastoralism has been studied either from a social or an ecological perspective, while integrated approaches remain rare. Recently, the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) and other global initiatives have emphasized the need for combined social and ecological approaches to achieve sustainable land stewardship. There is also need for theory-based social science analysis of environmental problems. This working group aims to explore place-based and interdisciplinary perspectives for the analysis and management of silvopastoral systems around the world. We invite contributions ranging from social science to integrated social and ecological approaches that address issues such as (1) governance and institutions; (2) ecosystem services, human well-being and trade-offs; (3) cross-scale connections and feedbacks; (4) thresholds, traps, and transformations; or (5) diversity around silvopastoral systems. Contributions can refer to a multitude of spatial and temporal scales, can integrate a variety of disciplines, and can be conceptual or empirical.


WG 14) Progressing towards integrative approaches and management support


Gerardo Moreno, University of Extremadura, Plasencia, Spain

Teresa Pinto-Correia, ICAAM (Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)/University of Évora, Portugal


Silvo-pastoral systems are highly complex and dynamic systems, which have developed in a combination of complementary factors and different products, as a way to face extreme limitations in the available natural resources and inter-annual variability in the climatic conditions. Management of these systems has developed through a detailed knowledge of the interrelations between the different components, and a practical system approach, based on experience. Nevertheless, due to growing trends of specialisation and simplification in the global food and forestry sectors, the silvo-pastoral systems of the world are often today under pressure. But the impacts of the changes in place in the balance of the system are not always detected or acknowledged. In order to support management decisions, research has to progress from disciplinary approaches, which support specialisation but do not provide integrative solutions, to more integrative, systemic approaches. These systemic approaches are a challenge for today’s research, in a quest for the production of socially robust knowledge and more applicability. This working group will focus on the progresses and challenges of integrative, systemic approaches and on ways forwards in the sense of more substantial management support. It will deal with all themes included in the other working group, but only with an integrative perspective.

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