Aboveground plant mass and mass available to grazing goats in a mountainous shrubland in subtropical China

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2011
Authors:Yiruhan,  , Xie, X-M, Shiyomi, M
Journal:Grassland Science
Date Published:2011
ISBN Number:1744-697X
Keywords:Breast height diameter, carrying capacity, Guangdong Province, herbaceous plant mass, shrub plant mass

Vegetation in the northwestern mountainous region of Guangdong Province, China is a mosaic of forests and shrubs. Shrubs in this area are evergreen with heights <2.5 m and have been left unused for at least 50 years. Recently, light grazing by a local breed of goats was started in a mountainous region near Lechang City under local government guidance. We conducted a survey over 4 years to estimate plant mass as a feed resource for goats in a sharply undulating mountainous shrubland. Two permanent plots (50 × 50 m) were set in a 76-ha site; shrub-dominated downward slopes and valleys (S plot), and a mountain ridge and an adjacent slope dominated by herbaceous species on slightly poorer soil (G plot). The plant mass, including herbaceous plants, and leaf and xylem parts of shrubs, which were determined through allometric equations based on measurements of breast height diameter of shrubs, was estimated at 15.9 t dry matter (DM) ha−1 in the S plot and 7.7 t DM ha−1 in the G plot. The total mass of herbaceous plants and shrub leaves, available to grazing goats, was estimated at 3.9 and 3.1 t DM ha−1 in the S plot and G plot, respectively. We conclude that 4.9 adults and 2.4 kids ha−1 can be stocked throughout a year on this mountainous shrubland.

Short Title:Grassland Science
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