Ministry of Rural Development and Food, Regional Department of Epirus, 451 10 Ioannina, Greece
ROUKOS, Ch., 2016. Seasonal and altitudinal variations in nutritional quality of kermes oak (Quercus cocciferaL.) in northwest Greece and and extensive goat farming. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 22: 804–814
The growth and nutritional quality of kermes oak (Quercus coccifera L.) are affected by climatic environment and stage of maturity. The study aimed to determine changes in the nutritional quality of kermes oak components (i.e., twigs and leaves) in shrublands across a mountainside, where climatic conditions change with altitude above sea level, in northwest Greece. The study involved monthly collection of forage samples during March–October from 15 experimental plots located in three altitudinal zones (lower, middle, and upper) over two consecutive years. Samples were manually separated into the two shrub components and analyzed for crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fi ber (aNDFom), acid detergent fi ber (ADFom), lignin(sa), in vitro dry matter (DM) digestibility (IVDMD), in vitro neutral detergent fi ber digestibility (IVNDFD), digestible energy (DE) and minerals (i.e., Ca, P). Altitudinal zone, in terms of existing climatic conditions, strongly affected the nutritive value of leaves and twigs. Indeed, altitude above sea level was positively correlated with mean monthly precipitation and negatively correlated with mean monthly air temperature, which, in turn, strongly infl uenced CP, IVDMD, IVNDFD, fi ber contents, DE, and mineral contents. The Ca:P ratio exceeded the animal functional disorder threshold, which posed a hazard.