EEF 2019 | 15th EEF – European Ecological Federation Congress

Towards precision agro-ecology for sustainable grazing


Tiago Domingos | MARETEC/LARSyS, Instituto Superior Técnico

Vânia Proença | MARETEC/LARSyS, Instituto Superior Técnico

Ricardo F.M. Teixeira | MARETEC/LARSyS, Instituto Superior Técnico

Marjan Jongen

Emanuel Lourenço

Carlos M.G.L. Teixeira



Grazing systems are a complex combination of soil, vegetation, herbivores and human management, which are central to many socio-ecological systems. The fine balance between negative and positive environmental impacts by grazing land and livestock, combined with their economic importance for rural areas, has created awareness for the need to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of such systems. Any sustainability research programme that aims to understand and act on these systems must therefore follow an integrated approach, based on the progressive development of a solid transdisciplinary scientific framework, harnessing the power of modern technologies for data gathering, processing and system control.

In this symposium we will address the impacts and benefits of grazing systems for sustainability, as well as tools and modelling approaches to assess their performance. In particular, this session brings together research aimed at the following operational aims:

  1. To optimize pasture-based livestock farming, minimizing its requirements for land that could be used for direct human consumption and maximizing its environmental services
  2. To optimize the management of pastures, by improved grazing and fertilization
  3. To foster the ecological role of herbivory on ecosystem management and restoration
  4. To develop tools for the analysis of the direct and indirect environmental, social and economic impact of different livestock management options.

This session will draw from the research and application work currently carried out under the “Grazing for Sustainability” thematic area led by MARETEC/LARSyS at Instituto Superior Técnico.

The session will last approximately 60 minutes and includes 6 short presentations (~10 minutes, including questions) that highlight the main contributions made towards these goals. 


Short Presentations

Machine learning for estimating, modelling and optimizing soils and pastures
Ricardo F.M. Teixeira

Sown biodiverse pastures: quantifying the contribution of functional groups to productivity and stability
Marjan Jongen

Process-based “Dynamic Energy Budget” metabolic theory for managing livestock growth and emissions
Tiago Domingos 

Livestock herbivory as tool for ecosystem management and restoration
Vânia Proença

Virtual fencing for precision ecosystem management and restoration: a review
Emanuel Lourenço

Effective biodiversity criteria for standards and labels applied in livestock grazing systems
Carlos M.G.L. Teixeira

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