Foraging behavior of goats browsing in southern mediterranean forest rangeland

Youssef Chebli, Samira El Otmani, Mouad Chentouf, Jean Luc Hornick, Jérôme Bindelle, Jean François Cabaraux

Résultats de recherche: Contribution à un journal/une revueArticleRevue par des pairs


Mediterranean forest rangelands offer an important feed source for goats. Concerns about grazing strategies and management schemes in order to ensure the rangeland sustainability of Southern Mediterranean forest have revived interest in the foraging behavior of goats. This study was conducted to investigate the seasonal changes of feeding behavior of grazing goats in the Southern Mediterranean forest rangeland of Northern Morocco during two consecutive years beginning in 2016. The direct observation method was used to compare diet composition, intake rate, and diet selectivity of goats during three seasons (spring, summer, and fall). Bite mass of each plant species selected by goats was estimated using hand-plucked simulation. The optimal foraging theory was used as a tool to explain the goats foraging decisions. Bite mass range was extremely wide and varied seasonally. The goats’ diet was largely composed of Cistus spp., Lavandula stoechas, Quercus spp., and Myrtus communis. The result shows that the smaller the bite mass, the higher the biting rate, leading to increased short term intake rates. The selection of various plant species during fall and summer enlarged the diet diversity of goats. As expected, goats preferred trees and some shrubs despite their low availability. Consequently, the most available species is not necessarily the most positively selected. Particular high and positive selection of Quercus suber was observed over seasons. The outcomes confirm the high adaptability and ability of goats to select a woody species across seasons. Knowledge about forage availability and the feeding behavior of goats could be used as the first guide for rangeland managers to ensure herd and forest sustainability.

langue originaleAnglais
Numéro d'article196
Numéro de publication2
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - févr. 2020

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