Danzhalova E.V., Ariunbold E., Dorofeyuk N.I., Myagmarsuren D., Bazha S.N. PALATABILITY OF PLANT COMMUNITIES AS ONE OF THE CRITERIA FOR QUALITATIVE EVALUATION OF MONGOLIAN PASTURES // Arid Ecosystems. 2023. Vol. 29. № 2 (95). P. 98-108. | PDF
The study of the ecological state and the socio-economic value of pasture ecosystems in Mongolia lying under the progressive degradation remains an important task. The existing methods of pastures forage assessment are either labor-intensive (zootechnical method), or do not reflect the real situation (assessment of overall productivity) under formation of low-species or monodominant degraded communities. To determine the fodder value and productivity of pasture ecosystems in Mongolia, a Palatability Coefficient (PC) has been proposed. It was determined on the basis of data on the forage attractiveness of plant species making up the community, as well as the diversity of species eaten. The PC was calculated as the ratio of the consumed phytomass to the total aboveground phytomass, multiplied by the number of eaten species consisted of the composition of dominants and co-dominants. The PC was determined for 158 plant communities of meadow and steppe pasture ecosystems. They were ranked in 4 categories. It has been established that a significant part of the studied communities has a high PC. Although these communities are characterized by varying degrees of anthropogenic disturbance, including severe, the high PC is due to the fact that some of the digressively active species have a satisfactory or good palatability. Probably, this fact supports the potential for an increase in the number of livestock in Mongolia, as it has a wide range of forage preferences. At the same time, there are a high proportion of pastures with low and very low PC. To a greater extent, such pastures are formed by true and dry steppe plant communities, which are under the highest pasture load in Mongolia.
Keywords: Mongolia, meadow ecosystems, steppe ecosystems, nomadic animal husbandry, pasture, pasture digression, fodder assessment, above-ground phytomass, feed attractiveness of plants, palatability coefficient.
Financing. The research was carried out for the scientific program of the Joint Russian-Mongolian integrated biological expedition of the Russian and Mongolian Academies of Sciences, topic 3.1.2. “Assessment of Degradation of Vegetation Cover of Steppe Ecosystems Taking into Account Regional and Economic Factors”, and for the state task of the A.N. Severtsov Institute for Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, No. 0109-2019-0007 “Historical Ecology and Biogeocenology”.