Roos, K; Bendix, J; Curatola, G; Gawlik, J; Gerique, A; Hamer, U; Hildebrandt, P; Knoke, T; Meyer, H; Pohle, P; Potthast, K; Thies, B; Tischer, A; Beck, E: Current Provisioning Services: Pasture Development and Use, Weeds (Bracken) and Management. In: Bendix J., Beck E., Bräuning A., Makeschin F., Mosandl R., Scheu S. and Wilcke W. (eds): Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity and Environmental Change in a Tropical Mountain Ecosystem of South Ecuador., Ecological Studies, Springer Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Vol. 221 (2013), doi:DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-38137-9_15
This chapter reports on the historical expansion and current state of the pastures in the Rio San Francisco valley. Its major part is inhabited by the Mestizos, who do not have a long-standing pasture tradition. Three types of pastures were identified by the dominant grass species: the “pastos azules” (Holcus lanatus), the Yaragua pastures (Melinis minutiflora) and the dominating “pastos mieles” (Setaria sphacelata). The peculiarities, species composition, soil dynamics and agricultural values of these pastures are discussed. Except for the pastos azules on small flattenings in the otherwise steep slopes of the valley, pastures in the area suffer from invasion by aggressive weeds, mainly the tropical bracken fern. Abandonment of pastures is fostered by the use of fire to combat weeds and stimulate grass growth. This type of low-yield pasture farming is not sustainable. The earnings of livestock farming are not sufficient for subsistence. Diversification of the income portfolio is necessary.

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