The University of Arizona

Nutritional attributes of understory plants known as components of deer diets.

M.P. Gonzalez-Hernandez, F.J. Silva-Pando


Nutritive quality of vegetation is important when evaluating the habitat to sustain wildlife. Crude protein, fiber content and in vitro digestibility were evaluated for 17 shrubs, 7 trees, 2 ferns, 3 forbs, and 4 grasses species of Galician (NW Spain) woodlands understory. Nutritional attributes showed forbs, Frangula alnus Miller, Hedera helix L. and Linocera periclymenum L. as plants with the highest forage value. Crude protein levels of Rubus sp., Robinia pseudacacia L., Castanea sativa Miller, and grasses could meet deer nitrogen requirements but their low IVOMD and high fiber percentages make them mid-low feed value forages. Understory layer of oakwoods provides higher quality forage than conifer or eucalyptus stands. Crude protein and digestibility of plants peaked in spring-summer and the highest fiber content occurred in winter. Seasonal fluctuations in forage quality makes seasonal management and seasonal plans necessary.


trees;silica;Capreolus capreolus;ferns and fern allies;Spain;understory;lignin;protein content;fiber content;forbs;crude protein;shrubs;in vitro digestibility;seasonal variation;grasses

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