Plant Diversity ›› 2020, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (06): 455-463.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2020.09.007

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Nutrient value of wild fodder species and the implications for improving the diet of mithun (Bos frontalis) in Dulongjiang area, Yunnan Province, China

Yanfei Genga,b,c, Sailesh Ranjitkarc,d,e, Qiaoshun Yanb, Zhijun Hef, Baqi Suf, Shengtao Gaog, Junli Niug,h, Dengpan Buc,g,i, Jianchu Xub,c,g,j   

  1. a College of Tea Science, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, China;
    b Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China;
    c CAAS-ICRAF Joint Lab on Agroforestry and Sustainable Animal Husbandry, World Agroforestry, East and Central Asia, Beijing 100193, China;
    d NGene, Solutions of Natural Innovation, Kathmandu, GPO 44614, Nepal;
    e Mid-Western University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, Naya Bato, Lalitpur 44600, Nepal;
    f Agriculture Bureau of Gongshan Derung and Nu Autonomous County, Nujiang 673500, China;
    g State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100193, China;
    h College of Animal Science and Technology, Shihezi University, Shihezi 832003, China;
    i Hunan Co-Innovation Center of Animal Production Safety, CICAPS, Changsha 410128, China;
    j World Agroforestry, East and Central Asia, Kunming 650201, China
  • Received:2020-04-30 Revised:2020-09-08 Online:2020-12-25 Published:2021-03-03
  • Contact: Jianchu Xu
  • Supported by:
    We are thankful to Jian Wang, Xin Zhang, Lu Ma and Lingling Sun from Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences for being helpful in lab work. Special gratitude is expressed to Dr. Fiona R. Worthy from ‘Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies’ at the Kunming Institute of Botany for English editing. This research was funded by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (CAASXTCX2016011-01; ASTIP-IAS07), Talent Project of Guizhou University[(2018)06] and National Natural Science Foundation of China (31900275). We also acknowledge supports from CGIAR research programs on ‘Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’ (CRP6.2) and Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. XDA20050204, XDA19050303).

Abstract: Wild fodder plants are valuable because they provide an important livestock feed resource globally, especially for smallholder farmers, and have important roles in natural resource management. In-depth knowledge of wild forage plants can motivate local people for feed resource and habitat conservation of threatened herbivores such as Mithun (Bos frontalis). Mithun occur in small patches in the mountains of Dulongjiang, nearby villagers domesticated this animal but left animal to freely graze in the mountains. Many fodder plants occur in these mountains, however, little is known about their nutritional value. We conducted an ethnobotanical survey to document important wild fodder plants consumed by mithun in the Dulongjiang Township. The nutritional content of 21 highly mentioned wild fodder plants in an ethnobotanical survey was examined. Laboratory analysis showed that Fagopyrum dibotrys were the fodder species with the highest crude protein (CP) content (26.89%), followed by Polygonum molle (21.88%) and Hydrangea longipes (21.12%). Synthesis of relative feed value index and grey relational grade, P. molle, H. longipes and Tetrastigma obtectum were ranked the top three nutritional fodders. There was a significant difference between 21 species on their in vitro digestibility and the most highly digestible fodder species was Elatostema hookerianum. Linear model analysis on relationship between frequency of citation of 21 wild forage plants by local farmers and their nutrient composition showed that the frequency was significantly positively correlated with the nutritional value of the feed (R2=0.28, P<0.05). We concluded that these species have high nutritional values to improve mithun production in integrated crop-livestock systems. Fodder species or mixtures of species with useful nutritional characters could be cultivated to improve livestock productivity, habitat conservation including that of mithun and wild forage resource management.

Key words: Wild fodder species, Nutritional value, Mithun, Nature conservation