An analysis of plant palatability on pastures of the delta: Case study, Danube Delta area, Romania

Authors

  • Simona D. CHIRILĂ Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development, Babadag Street no. 165, 820112, Tulcea (RO)
  • Ștefan RĂILEANU Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development, Babadag Street no. 165, 820112, Tulcea (RO)
  • Livia O. DAVID Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development, Babadag Street no. 165, 820112, Tulcea (RO)
  • Silviu COVALIOV Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development, Babadag Street no. 165, 820112, Tulcea (RO)
  • Mihai DOROFTEI Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development, Babadag Street no. 165, 820112, Tulcea (RO)

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.15835/nbha52113568

Keywords:

palatability class, parts used, plant condition, animal preference, Danube Delta

Abstract

The palatability of a plant refers to the degree of attraction or preference that animals show toward that particular plant. Various factors can influence palatability, including the plant’s chemical composition, texture, taste, aromas, and the circumstances under which herbivorous animals consume it. The study aims to assess the plant species composition in grasslands and pastures within the Danube Delta, Romania. Both old or new references on palatability were considered. The evaluation of plant composition and degree of plant palatability was carried out in 12 grazing areas in the Danube Delta and the surrounding region. The study revealed 121 plant species identified in some pastures. Of these, 31 were “Non-Palatable”, 16 were “Highly Palatable”, 32 were “Mostly Palatable”, 16 were “Less Palatable”, and 26 were “Rarely Palatable”. Animals preferred 60 plant species in their fresh condition, with 29 preferred in fresh and dry. Most animals consumed whole plants (48 species), followed by leaves (43 species), fruits (three species), and inflorescences (two species). By analysing the feeding preferences of animals, it was found that cows exhibited a preference for the broadest range of plants (75 species), followed by sheep (67 species), goats (59 species), and horses (34 species).  Domestic animals like goats, sheep, cows, and horses may prefer certain plants based on nutritional content or digestibility while avoiding toxic plants. The study showed that the investigated areas have a diverse flora with a varied supply of plants, including palatable species. The palatability index is essential in assessing the quality of pastures, especially in obtaining average daily gains based on the species of animals living on the pastures. Considering the dynamic climatic conditions and poor pasture quality in the Danube Delta, more detailed and interdisciplinary studies are needed to understand the deltaic biocenoses comprehensively.

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Published

2024-02-29

How to Cite

CHIRILĂ, S. D., RĂILEANU, Ștefan, DAVID, L. O., COVALIOV, S., & DOROFTEI, M. (2024). An analysis of plant palatability on pastures of the delta: Case study, Danube Delta area, Romania. Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca, 52(1), 13568. https://doi.org/10.15835/nbha52113568

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Research Articles
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DOI: 10.15835/nbha52113568