Tropical multipurpose shrub and tree (MPT) legumes play an important role in mixed farming systems. They contribute to livestock production directly as protein-rich forage and feed supplement, and indirectly as, e.g., shade trees and living fences. MPT used as planted fallows, green manures and mulches are a source of nitrogen (N) in many parts of the tropics where N fertilizer is not economically feasible. MPT contribute to soil improvement through their capacity to fix atmospheric N, increase organic matter content and enhance soil structure.
Despite their multiple uses, research on MPT quality has been carried out independently within individual disciplines and little information exchange on methodological aspects between soil scientists and animal nutritionists has occurred in the past. To take full advantage of both, the livestock production and soil enhancement related potential of MPT, the application of time and resource saving interdisciplinary research methods is necessary.
The research presented in this book showed that anaerobic standard in-vitro techniques from animal nutrition are time and resource saving alternatives to predict aerobic decomposition and N release in the soil. Based on these findings, the application of a single standardised method to analyse anaerobic digestibility and predict aerobic decomposition of MPT foliage is suggested.
2004; XII + 148 pp.; 21 X 14,8 cm; paper
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