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Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 429–441 | Cite as

Clearcutting Brazilian caatinga: assessment of a traditional forest grazing management practice

  • R. D. Kirmse
  • F. D. Provenza
  • J. C. Malechek
Article

Abstract

Clearcutting is a common practice for removing woody vegetation in the semiarid tropics of northeast Brazil. The prevalent belief is that clearing increases carrying capacity for livestock by increasing herbaceous vegetation, yet little empirical evidence exists to support or refute the contention. We investigated the implications to small ruminant nutrition of clearcutting in the semiarid tropics of northeast Brazil. We found that biomass of herbaceous species increased sixfold following cutting of trees, but much of this increase was in the form of poorly palatable stem. The large supply of leaf litter from woody species that was typical of uncleared areas during the dry season was replaced by persistent green foliage on coppicing trees the year following clearing. This green foliage may enhance the nutritional quality of the diets of sheep and goats foraging on cleared areas during the dry season.

Key words

semiarid woodlands clearcutting coppice goat and sheep nutrition leaf litter production herbage production herbage chemical composition 

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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. D. Kirmse
    • 1
  • F. D. Provenza
    • 2
  • J. C. Malechek
    • 2
  1. 1.IRG BioresourcesWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Range Science Dept.Utah State UniversityLoganUSA

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