Within the framework of the project Biodiversity and Sustainable Agrosilvopastoralist Livestock Landscapes (BioPaSOS), more than 1,200 livestock breeders – men and women from Jalisco, Chiapas, and Campeche in Mexico – are being trained to implement silvopastoral systems on their farms, as well as good livestock practices that can contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and the mitigation of greenhouse gases (GHGs), thus increasing their ability to adapt to climate change.
Upon implementing these technologies, they’ve been able to overcome food shortages for their livestock in dry season, increase productivity, better manage the pastures, improve the health of their animals, and – in some cases – reduce the use of agrochemicals. What’s more, by conserving and improving the management of trees on their farms, they’ve obtained benefits such as firewood, timber, fence posts, and fruits.
All of this knowledge has been transmitted to farming families through the 68 Farmer Field Schools (FFSs) developed by the project Biodiversity and Sustainable Agrosilvopastoralist Livestock Landscapes, known as BioPaSOS, alongside local partners and in coordination with the Agriculture and Environment Ministries in each territory of intervention.
“BioPaSOS has provided us with the tools to adapt. We are now putting into practice what they’ve taught us on the farm, and we can see better results in our production, as well as economic savings,” asserted Laura Madera, a producer from Jalisco.
The main practices developed during the FFSs are the establishment of hedges, tree-planting in pastures, the establishment of cut grasses, multinutrient blocs, silage, management of fodder crops, the use of biodigesters, and the production of sulphate and calcium products. They’ve also been sensitized to conserving biodiversity to increase the resilience and adaptation of livestock production to climate change; for example, the trees help to capture GHG, protect water sources, provide habitat, and increase the connectivity of the landscape, which helps to maintain the viability of plants and animal communities on farming landscapes.
Héctor Caamal, a farmer from Campeche, says the FFS changed his belief that in order to rear livestock, it was necessary to get rid of trees. He now practices a very different kind of livestock farming, keeping more animals in a smaller area – which allows the trees to grow – and implementing positive livestock practices.
BioPaSOS is implemented by the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), with the support of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in coordination with the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), with financing from the International Climate Initiative (IKI).