Field trials in Sardinia, LIVINGAGRO in action for practical experimentation of innovations in the agroforestry sector


In the framework of LIVINGAGRO's activity related to the identification of innovations for the Mediterranean agroforestry sector, one of the proposed innovations concerns the validation and registration of specific forage seed mixtures for two agroforestry systems: olive multifunctional systems and silvopastoral systems.

Last month, the Italian partner CNR ISPAAM identified the areas in which two experimental and three demonstration field trials will be carried out, located, respectively, in north-west (Sassari) and north-east (Monti) Sardinia. Specifically, one experimental and one demonstration field trial will be carried out for an olive grove system, while one experimental and two demonstration field trials will be carried out for a silvopastoral system.

The objective of these field trials is to identify and register innovative forage seed mixtures for both selected agroforestry systems. The innovation of the proposed mixtures consists in the presence of seeds selected in Sardinia by CNR ISPAAM, such as local accessions of annual self-reseeding medic, clover and ryegrass, which can guarantee a better adaptation to different marginal conditions, as well as to prolonged drought periods. The current situation in the seed market forces the use of allochthonous seeds, selected abroad and often with limited adaptability. This represents a major problem, especially when operating in protected natural environments such as Natura 2000 sites.

The innovativeness of the mixtures also lies in the careful combination of perennials and self-reseeding annual species, in order to maximise the adaptive synergies of the mixture through the balancing of different functional groups such as legumes-grasses and fast-slow establishing species. In the multifunctional olive grove system, four different soil management systems will be compared: i) natural covering (undisturbed); ii) traditional management with surface soil tillage; iii) sowing of commercial forage seed mixtures and iv) sowing of innovative forage seed mixtures. In the experimental field trial, the experimental design is a randomised block design, with three replications, while the demonstration field has no replications.

In the silvopastoral system, three different management systems of the grazing area are compared: i) natural pasture; ii) improved pasture with sowing of commercial forage seed mixtures and iii) improved pasture with sowing of innovative forage seed mixtures. Like in the olive grove system, the design of the experimental field trial in the silvopastoral system consists of three replicates, while the two demonstration trials have no replicates.


Want to discover more about this experimentation?

For more information please contact LIVINGAGRO partner no.1 CNR ISPAAM at the following email address: