The COST Action 852 - Quality Legume-Based forage System for Contrasting Environments focues on the challenges of making use of forage legumes in suistainable production system, thus supplying fertileity and enviromental benefits. It was initiated in 2002 and is divided into three working groups. Working Group 1 deals with legume genetic resources with the aim of identifying mechanisms of adaptation and their genetic bases. Working Group 2 deals with sward management focusing on understanding factors behind fluctuations of mixed legume swards through the growing season and rest seasons and their term dynamics over years. Working Group 3 deals with forage utilization with the aim of understanding the complex relationships that exist between herbivores and the forage legumes they consume, in addition to obtaining more information on the processes of energy transfer and nutrient loss from the system.
These proceedings contain papers that were presented at a workshop organized in grado, Italy in November 2005. It was the second in a series of three workshops that will eventually cover the main themes of the Action. The first workshop emphasized links between Working Groups 1 and 2 and was on the Adaptation and Management of Forage Legumes - Strategies for ImprovedReliability in Mixed Swards. The present workshop centered on links between Working Groups 2 and 3 and was titled Sward Dynamics, N-Flow and Forage Utilisation in Legume-Based Systems. We first looked at sward dynamics and biodiversity, then we turned our attention to the management of multispecies mixtures and finally we looked at N flows and n efficiency in legume-based systems. Distinguished scientists covered the main topics in plenary lectures and in addition there were a number of poster presentations in each session.