Checklist of Palatable Grass Species from Peninsular India
Grasslands are common landscapes of India and dominate peninsular Indian landmass. Though secondary, these grasslands are important from cultural as well as economical point of view. Domestic cattle population of this region largely depends on these grasslands as food source. The grasslands, exposed to anthropocentric activities like burning and grazing, are facing several changes like replacement of palatable species by unpalatable ones. As an attempt to understand the fodder potential of grasslands of this region, a comprehensive checklist of palatable grass species, based on literature survey and field experience, was compiled. Local pastoral communities were interviewed for information on palatable grass species and their utility potentials. Various herbaria were consulted for confirmation of habitats, presence and absence of awns and grass phenology. The grasses with awns are consumed before the maturation and after the dispersal of awns. A total of 143 grass species were documented as palatable, of which 64 are awned and 79 are unawned. The palatable grasses were classified in 9 habitats and the palatability grade based on their use value is assessed. This documentation will be helpful for understanding and better management of grasslands of peninsular India.
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