Management

In improved pastures many forbs and shrubs are considered weeds, as these species tend to be opportunists. Proper pasture management can help control unwanted pasture species, including controlled grazing with goats. In some cases, eradicating the unwanted forbs and shrubs reduces pasture phytomass, because the forb species have not competed with preferred species, but rather have filled a void vacated by loss of preferred species.[9] Proper management will require knowledge of the forb or shrub nutritive value, as well as any possible deleterious effects.

Caution is required when introducing new forage forb or shrub species to a given area where they can make an economic impact, because many of these species are opportunists. There are numerous documented cases where introduced exotic species have become noxious weed problems.[10] The honey locust tree (Gleditsia tricanthos) in Australia and dandelion (T. officinale Wigg) and mutiflora rose (Rosa multiflora Thunb. Ex Murr.) in the United States are just a few examples of unintended consequences. A prudent approach to shrub research might be to develop native plants as livestock resources, mitigating the possibility of introducing a serious environmental weed.[6]

Larkin et al.[11] noted low natural variation in hightannin tropical leguminous tree species. He further suggested that there would be a limited ability to alter tannin content through natural selection. He suggested that transgenics would be the best method of lowering tannin content in these species. Poppi et al.[12] suggested that proper grazing management and the use of nutritional supplements would be as effective as high-tech manipulation of lignin and carbohydrate content in tropical shrub species.

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