Forage is biomass that is potential food for livestock and wildlife, including herbaceous and woody sources. Only plants that are available and palatable to grazing animals are classified as forage. Therefore, a highly palatable Arizona cottontop (Digitaria californica) protected from grazing animals by a dense patch of prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) does not contribute to forage. Like browse, forage is also generally restricted to species or parts of plants deemed palatable by animals, but this issue is confused by the subjective nature of palatability and alternative feed sources.
References and Further Reading
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Holechek, J.L., Pieper, R.D., and C.H. Herbel. 1995. Range management principles and practices. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 2nd ed. pp 135-136.
Schweitzer, S.H., Bryant, F.C., and D.B. Wester. 1993. Potential forage species for deer in the southern mixed prairie. Journal of Range Management 46:70-75. (pdf)
Society for Range Management. 1989. A glossary of terms used in range management. Society for Range Management. Denver, CO. 3rd ed. p 9.
Taylor, C.R., Brooks, T.D., and N.E. Garza. 1993. Effects of short duration and high-intensity low-frequency grazing systems on forage production and composition. Journal of Range Management 46:118-121. (pdf)