Research papers

Proposal of a simplified method for pastoral value assessment inside forest planning


Carrying capacity is one of the most important variables that should be assessed for a proper evaluation of forage potentiality of pastures. Nevertheless, inside forest management plans, reduced costs make impossible the involvement of additional technical staff specialized in this domain and for this reason different methodologies to simplify data collection were proposed for pasture planning. In this paper a simplified method to evaluate the pastoral value (one of the most common procedure for carrying capacity estimation) is proposed and assessed in real conditions in order to obtain a proper potential stocking rate of a whole pasture area. The method is based on a previous research that proposed a simplified method of data collection that is performed by means of different functional groups of species or botanical families: palatable grasses, not palatable grasses, legumes, species belonging to other botanical families, spiny and poisonous species, trees and shrubs. Each category is linked to its feeding behavior by an index that summarizes forage potentiality and this permits to classify the resources in different quality classes, each of them characterized by a given potential stocking rate. The proposed methodology seems easy to be performed also by staff without a specific formation in pasture management and comparison performed with the traditional procedure produced accurate results. Even if the proposed scheme should not to be considered alternative to the original methodology, it can be useful to acquire information for pastoral resource management, especially at territorial level.


botanical composition; forage quality; pastoral value assessment; forest planning; silvo-pastoral.

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