Multipurpose uses of forage species, estimation of availability and distribution of grass species, and effect of location on the crude fibre and ash contents of common browse species in Nsukka, Nigeria.
A study of multipurpose browse and grass species from four rural communities of Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State was conducted between 2005 and 2006. Structured questionnaires were administered to farmers in the four communities. A total of 38 plant species belonging to 24 plant families were identified as multipurpose browse species. A greater number of the plant species are used for fuel wood (22 species), for fruits and leaves as vegetables (20 species) and for human and veterinary medicine (16 species). Twenty seven species of these browse plants from 2 communities were subjected to nutritional evaluation of their ash and crude fibre contents. The percentage crude fibre content of Icancina trichantha (73. 8%) was highest compared with the other browse species. Browse species from Edemani community gave significantly (P < 0.05) higher crude fibre contents than those from Obukpa community. Elaeis guineensis had significantly (P < 0.05) the highest ash content (23.5%). Plants from Edemani had higher ash content (11.4%) than those from Obukpa community (8.1%). Location and species interaction significantly (P < 0.05) affected the ash contents of the browse plants. A total of 6 plants were identified as multipurpose grass species. A greater number of the grass species are used for soil fertility enrichment (4 species), for lighting (2 species) and as roofing materials (2 species). The most frequently used grass species (with mean usage = 15%) across all sampled communities include: Andropogon gayanus and Anthephora ampulaceae. All the grass species identified are moderately available in the area of study.
Keywords: Multipurpose uses, location, forage species.