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Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science

Print version ISSN 0864-0408On-line version ISSN 2079-3480

Cuban J. Agric. Sci. vol.49 no.3 Mayabeque July.-Sept. 2015




Plant species used in animal feeding in Mera, Santa Clara and Pastaza cantons in Pastaza province, Ecuador


Especies vegetales utilizadas en la alimentación animal en los cantones Mera, Santa Clara y Pastaza en la provincia de Pastaza, Ecuador



R.V. Abril,I Janeth K. Aguinda,II T. E. Ruiz,III J. Alonso,III

IDocente Universidad Estatal Amazónica Ecuador, Departamento de Ciencias de Vida, km 2 ½ Vía a Napo Puyo, Ecuador.
IIUniversidad Estatal Amazónica del Ecuador, Departamento de Ciencias de la Vida, km 2 ½ Vía a Napo Puyo, Ecuador.
IIIInstituto de Ciencia Animal, Apartado Postal 24, San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque, Cuba.




This study was developed in Mera, Santa Clara and Pastaza cantons, located in Pastaza province, Ecuador, to identify accessions used by agricultural producers in animal feeding and to know its performance, in function of the use frequency, related to the canton, ethnicity of the producer, main source of economical incomes, type of farm production, years of experience, and other types of uses. A survey was applied to 214 producers, for 30% of the founded in their farms. Socioeconomic aspects, ecosystem description of the place and use of the plants in their farms were considered. Samples of the species used in animal feeding were collected and they were transported to the Amazon State University herbarium. The analysis of the results by means of the proportions square application, in function of the report frequency of each species, showed chi square of Pearson significance differences in the canton component, ethnicity of the producer, main source of economical incomes, and other type of species use. The analysis of report frequencies, applying Duncan test, stated that the species Axonopus scoparius, Bactris gasipaes, Bracharia brizanta, Colocasia sculenta, Cymbopogon citratus, Manhiot sculenta, Musa sp., Penisetum purpureum, Pouteria caimito, Psidium guajava, Saccharum officinarum L. and Zea mayz, showed different performances, while Axonopus scoparius showed differences in higher number of analysis. It is concluded that the geographical, cultural and economical factors, influence in the use report frequency, having in several species, animal feeding as alternative to other established uses.

Key words: animal feeding, distribution, ethnicity.


Este estudio se desarrolló en los municipios Mera, Santa Clara y Pastaza, ubicados en la provincia de Pastaza, Ecuador, para identificar accesiones utilizadas por productores agropecuarios en alimentación animal y conocer su comportamiento, en función de la frecuencia de uso, con relación al cantón, etnia del productor, principal fuente de ingresos económicos, tipo de producción de la finca, años de experiencia, y otros tipos de usos. Se aplicó una encuesta a 214 productores, para 30 % de los encontrados en sus fincas. Se contemplaron aspectos socioeconómicos, descripción ecosistémica del lugar y uso de las plantas en sus fincas. Se recolectaron muestras de las especies utilizadas en la alimentación animal y se transportaron al herbario de la Universidad Estatal Amazónica. El análisis de los resultados mediante la aplicación de cuadros de proporciones, en función de la frecuencia de reporte de cada especie, mostró diferencias significativas chi cuadrado de Pearson en los componentes cantón, etnia del productor, principal fuente de ingresos económicos y otros tipos de uso de las especies. El análisis de frecuencias de reporte, aplicando la dócima de Duncan, establece que las especies Axonopus scoparius .Bactris gasipaes, Bracharia brizanta, Colocasia sculenta, Cymbopogon citratus, Manhiot sculenta, Musa sp., Penisetum purpureum, Pouteria caimito, Psidium guajava, Saccharum officinarum L. y Zea mayz, muestran comportamientos diferentes, mientras que Axonopus scoparius presentó diferencias en mayor número de análisis. Se concluye que los factores geográfico, cultural y económico, inciden en la frecuencia de reporte de uso, teniendo en varias especies, la alimentación animal como alternativa a otros usos establecidos.

Palabras clave: alimento animal, distribución, etnia.




The development of societies is related with the use and exploitation of the plant resource available in the areas neighboring to its populations. The man take advantages of the potentialities that this resource offers to be use in the feeding and human and animal medicine, in materials for homes construction, in rituals that are based on the use of certain plants and the making of great number of articles.

The Ecuadorian history informs about researches related with the use of plants, in order to put plant species to governments or kingdoms disposition; others show information of general character on this topic (De la Torre and Macia 2008). A total of 408 ethnobotanical studies were registered, 107 are of Amazonia, and are focused in their majority, in topics of general ethnobotanic, medicinal and edible plants (Ríos et al.2007).The survey has been one of the main information sources in these studies, because it can be use in the frequency distribution analysis, with the application of the statistical V of  Cramer for association relations between variables(Díaz de Rada 2010).If the sample size is big, it can be apply the two-tailed hypothesis method, that is based on the distribution of chi square probabilities with contingency tables (Sabo and Boone 2013).

Pastaza province, located in the Ecuadorian Amazonia, houses in its territory the Achuar, Andowa, Huaorani, Kichwa, Shiwiar, Shuar and Zápara nationalities and migrant mestizo population from other provinces (Gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado Provincial de Pastaza 2014).

The importance of this research is based on the plant species register that can have a potential use in animal feeding, from the knowledge of the used plants by producers of Pastaza province. These allow providing of documented information about the use of the plant resource available in the study zone, in interest of achieving better development in cattle rising.

The objective of this research was to identify plant species used in animal feeding by agricultural producers of Pastaza, Mera and Santa Clara cantons, in Pastaza province, Ecuador. Their use was compared in function of the canton, ethnicity of the producer, main source of economical incomes, years of experience of the producer, type of farm production and other applications for the identified species.



Location of the study area. Ecuador is in South America. It has limits from 01º 28’ of north latitude with Colombia Republic, 05º 01’south latitude and 75º 11’ west longitude with Peru Republic up to the 81º 01‘with the Pacific Ocean. Geographically it is divided in four natural regions: coast, mountain, Amazonia and insular region. This research was carried out in the Amazonian region, Pastaza province, bordered on the north with Napo and Orellana; to the south with Morona Santiago province, to the east with Peru Republic, and to the west with Tungurahua and Chimborazo provinces.

Edaphoclimatic characteristics of the study area. In the area where the research was carried out at Mera canton, with Madre Tierra parish; Puyo canton, with Tarqui, Veracruz, 10 de Agosto and Fátima parishes, and Santa Clara canton, with San José and Santa Clara parishes. Table 1 shows the edaphoclimatic characteristics of the region.

A survey was applied to identify the socioeconomic, productive, edaphoclimatic and descriptive characteristics of plant species (Mott 1979).After having designed it; it was previously validated by 40 producers, to identify if it was understandable and it was also checked, by experts. The treated aspects are detailed in table 2. The survey was applied to123 producers (table 3).

The farms geographical location was registered with GPS. The specimens were photographed and plant samples were collected with aerial mower and pruning shear. Then there were transported to the Amazon State University herbarium to identify those of uncertain classification. It was turn for it to illustrations found in the specialized bibliography .From the photographs and graphics checking comparisons that allowed the classification were established (Gentry 1996 and Burnieo 2006).It was also appealed to look out the database of the Missouri Botanical Garden portal (

The processed data were analyzed with the INFOSTAT (2009) program by means of contingency tables in which the X2 statistical was applied in the use frequency informed by species, animal feeding vs canton, species used in animal feeding vs producer type, species vs years of experience of the producer, species vs producer dedication, species vs type of farms, and animal production species vs use types. In the components which analysis showed significance differences in its chi square coefficient, the proportions analysis was carried out. Duncan multiple comparison test was applied (García et al. 2001) by means of Excel COMPAPRO application, with the objective of determining the species that showed higher differences in their use report. These frequency reports allowed, in turn, to compare the proportion level that were of interest for each categorical descriptive variable.



Of the seven nationalities that reside in Pastaza province, only Kichwa was identified, besides mestizo producers. In the area a total of 22 plant species are uses in animal feeding (table 4), belonging to 13 botanical families. The proportions analysis showed significant differences in the P value, regarding to the frequency of use report by the producers and its comparison with the components of each canton   (Pastaza, Mera, Santa Clara), ethnicity of the producer (mestizo or of Kichwa nationality), main economical activity (table 5) and species used in animal feeding vs other use types informed for the specie (animal medicine, human medicine, animal feeding and constructions materials), (table 6). Significances differences were not informed in P value in the analysis of species used in animal feeding vs years of experiences. For it was categorized in experience of a year or less, from two at five years, from six at ten, from 11 at 20, and more than 20. Neither there were differences in the analysis of species used in animal feeding vs type of farm production (table 6) categorized in culture, animal production, culture plus animal production, wooden exploitation and culture plus wood.

The analysis carried out in the frequencies of use report of species used in animal feeding vs canton component shows significant differences. Santa Clara reported higher number of species, with high value to other cantons. The  Axonopus scoparius and Saccharum officinarum L species prevailed. There were also informed significant differences in relation with the species used in animal feeding vs ethnicity of the producer. Both groups, mestizo and  Kichwa, showed same number of reported species, but the plants used in each ethnic group were different. There were stood out in the mentioned components introduced plants, mainly from the Poaceae family. When having cantons with several edaphoclimatic characteristics, and producers with different socio-economical characteristics, differences in the species used in each component are generated. This was also reported when analyzing the used species vs the main source of economic incomes between producers, which main income was the farming activity, and those that have other types of economical incomes. Turner et al. (2011) stated that the use of species in different ecosystems differs according to the lifestyle and climatic areas.

The species used in animal feeding that showed different performance are shown in table 7, as for their report frequency when being applied the Duncan test in the components that showed significant differences in the proportions analysis. The Axonopus scoparius species shows differences in higher number of analysis. In the canton, ethnicity of the producer and main source of economical incomes components, the most of used species belonging to Poaceae family were of common use in animal feeding. The component other use types showed, in their majority, species from botanical families different to Poaceae. Among them, Bactris gasipaes, Colocasia esculenta, Manhiot sculenta, Musa sp., Pouteria caimito, Psidium guajava and Saccharum officinarum, which mainly use  is animal feeding, showing that its  use as animal food is a residual value regarding to other functions that it can have.

The area did not show great diversity of plants used for animal feeding, there were only verified 22 species. This is more significant if it is compared with the number that is used at national level, which is of 1987, for vertebrates animal feeding (De la Torre and Macia 2008).The materials with higher report number corresponded to introduced species: Axonopus scoparius, with 118 presences, located in 35 areas within the parish, and Pennisetum purpureum with 10, located in six areas within the parish. These species were reported as animal food by Ríos et al. (2007).In the remainders, animal feeding was secondary. The mentioned author also informed Bellucia pentamera, Cedrela odorata and Grias neuberthii. The Pouteria caimito, Bactris maraja, Psidium guajava, Musa paradisiaca, Cymbopogon citratus, Zea maiz, Colocasia esculenta, Musa sp. and Manhiot esculenta species were reported with other uses. In Paoletti (2005) reports other species used in animal feeding are referred: Axonopus scoparius, Bactris gasipaes, Citrus maxima Musa sp., Pouteria caimito, Psidium guajava, Saccharum officinarum L. and Zea mayz, while Bracharia brizanta was reported by Rojas et al. (2011).It is neccessary to highlihgt that Grias neuberthii, Bactris gasipaes, Cedrela odorata, Dioscorea trifida and Bellucia pentamera were uncultivated species, finding them in their natural environment.

The identified species were also reported in other studies in South America: Bactris gasipaes (Clement 1999), Colocasia sculenta (Rodríguez et al.2011), Cymbopogon citratus (Ríos 2010), Manhiot esculenta, Pouteria caimito, Psidium guajava and Zea mayz (Clement 1999).In Ecuador, (Ríos et al. 2007) reported Axonopus scoparius Kuhlm, Bactris gasipaes, Citrus maxima, Manhiot esculenta, Pouteria caimito and Zea mayz species .Also Ríos et al. (2007) and Patzel (2012) concided in informing the Colocasia sculenta, Cymbopogon citratus and Musa sp. species. The Saccharum officinarum L.specie showed their cosmopolite character because of their wide distribution range, it was found by Ríos et al. (2007) and Patzel (2012).

It is concluded that the areas corresponding to Mera and Pastaza cantons there were not show a wide diversity of species used in animal feeding. The most reported were introduced species, mainly from the Poaceas family, and it was recurrent the use of introduced grass (Axonopus scoparius).The contingency analysis for the different components showed differences in the use reports, in function of canton, ethnicity of the producer, main source of economical incomes and others use types components, at the same time there were not showed significance differences, as for years of experiences and type of farm production. This shows that the species use is, mainly, by the sector geographical conditions and by the producer cultural characteristics. Also the statistical analysis, when comparing the reported species with others uses types, showed that for Bactris gasipaes, Colocasia esculenta, Cymbopogon citratus, Manhiot sculenta, Musa sp. Pouteria caimito, Psidium guajava species, animal feeding is a secondary application.

 In  Grias neuberthii, Bactris gasipaes, Cedrela odorata, Dioscorea trifida and Bellucia pentamera species, animal feeding is an alternative use, being these in their majority trees and shrubs that are mostly in their natural environment, but that they have also been tamed when using them as cultivation dedicated to human feeding. 



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Received: April 23, 2014
Accepted: July 28, 2015



R.V. Abril, Docente Universidad Estatal Amazónica Ecuador, Departamento de Ciencias de Vida, km 2 ½ Vía a Napo Puyo, Ecuador . Email:

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