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Range Cattle Research & Education Center

Range Cattle Research & Education Center

Dr. Maria Lucia Silveira

Professor - Soil Scientist

Research Focus (60%) | Extension Focus (40%)

The Soil and Water Science Program at the Range Cattle REC is focused primarily on developing science-based information to address critical soil nutrient management and water quality issues affecting the forage and cattle industry in Florida.

Much of Dr. Silveira’s research addresses aspects of nutrient cycling and water quality issues associated with grassland ecosystems. During the past five years, the Soil and Water Science program has placed significant emphasis on developing and promoting nutrient management strategies that minimize fertilizer inputs necessary to sustaining adequate forage/animal production while protecting the environment. Research has also focused on developing means to mitigate phosphorus transport from nutrient enriched-soils.

More recently, the Soil and Water Science program has emphasized understanding soil carbon dynamics in grazing land ecosystems and the impacts of management on soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. Because of their large extent and diversity, grazing lands have significant impacts on the earth’s carbon and can potentially sequester large amounts of carbon. However, estimates of the contribution of land management on potential future carbon sequestration remain unclear.

Because improved management practices are normally beneficial to forage and livestock production, they may also provide an incentive for producers to adopt strategies that enhance soil carbon pools. Beef cattle and forage producers in the southern USA are highly interested in adopting management techniques that enhance soil carbon storage capacity and, consequently, improve soil quality and fertility. Increasing soil carbon stocks is largely in line with farmer’s management goals of achieving high productivity.

Although increasing carbon sequestration rates remains a major challenge in the subtropical regions of the USA, grazing lands have a significant potential to mitigate atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Application of improved management practices and utilization of biofuel crops, for instance, represent viable alternatives by which carbon sequestration rates can be enhanced in grazing lands. 

Current Projects

  • Response of bahiagrass yield, nutritive value, and nutrient uptake to different commercial nitrogen sources
  • Limpograss and Jiggs bermudagrass responses to potassium and phosphorus fertilization
  • Ecosystem carbon stocks and the impacts of land use intensification in subtropical grassland ecosystems
  • Evaluating the impacts of lignocellulosic-based energy crop production systems on soil carbon stocks and greenhouse gas emissions

Maria Silveira


3401 Experiment Station
Ona, FL 33865
Phone: (863) 735-1314 extension #209
Fax: (863) 735-1930