Important browses in selected districts were identified using goats’ preference and farmers’ knowledge. A total of 296 plots (20 × 20 m area) were placed along 16 transect lines randomly laid in plane and sloppy communal grazing lands to assess frequency of occurrences and density of the browse species. A total of 48 browse species out of which 31 were recognized by farmers were observed being browsed by goats. According to the goat owners, Balanites aegypetiaca was the most and Grewia bicolor was the least preferred, while the goats’ preferred Acacia tortilis as the most and Flueggea virosa as the least. In the plane area, the highest frequency of occurrence was seen for Rhus natalensis (62.4%) and Acacia mellifera (50.3%), while in the sloppy grazing area the most frequently occurring (43.9 to 54.4%) browses were Terminalia brownii, Harrisonia abyssinica, and Grewia bicolar. Density of Rhus natalensis appears to be higher both in plane (186 tree/ha) and sloppy (166 trees/ha) lands. The ranking of farmers and the goats’ preference appeared closely related. Therefore, further laboratory analysis should be conducted to verify the nutritional quality of the selected browses and urgent identification and conservation of potential browse trees and shrubs should be undertaken.
Key words: Browse species, goats, grazing area, indigenous, shrubs.
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