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Influence of management regime and harvest date on the forage quality of rangelands plants: the importance of dry matter content

Permanent rangeland grazed by sheep flock at the La Fage research station (Larzac Causse, France) in June 2013. (Photo credit: Iris Bumb).
Permanent rangeland grazed by sheep flock at the La Fage research station (Larzac Causse, France) in June 2013. (Photo credit: Iris Bumb).

Despite their recognised ecological value, relatively little is known about the nutritional value of species-rich rangelands for herbivores. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Bumb et al. investigated the sources of variation in forage quality in plants from species-rich Mediterranean rangelands in southern France. Digestibility was affected by species growth form, harvest date, developmental stage and management regime, and differed between leaves, stems and reproductive parts. The dry matter content of the different plant parts, an estimate of the density of their tissues that is closely related to fibre content, emerged as a good predictor and an easily measured trait to estimate digestibility in the wide range of species encountered in their study.

Written by AoBPLANTS

AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of environmental and evolutionary biology. Published by Oxford University Press, AoB PLANTS provides a fast-track pathway for publishing high-quality research, where papers are available online to anyone, anywhere free of charge. Reasons to publish in AoB PLANTS include double-blind peer review of manuscripts, rapid processing time and low open-access charges.

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