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Importance of determining the climatic domains of sheep breeds

  • D. Petit (a1) and I. Boujenane (a2)


The main purpose of the study was to compare the capacity of the major sheep breeds in Morocco to cope with climate changes through the ranges of several climate parameters in which they can be found. We first delimitated the climatic ‘domains’ of each breed by constructing a database including altitude and climatic parameters (minima mean of the coldest month, maxima mean of the hottest month, annual rainfall, pluviothermic coefficient of Emberger Q 2, annual minima mean and annual maxima mean) on a 30-year period using the representative stations of each breed distribution. The overlap between each breed combination was quantified through a canonical analysis that extracted the most discriminant parameters. The variance analysis of each climatic parameter evidenced two breeds remarkable by their tolerance. The first one is the Timahdite, mainly settled in areas over 1100 m, which can tolerate the greatest variations in annual rainfall and pluviothermic coefficient. In spite of this feature, this breed is endangered owing to the decreasing quality of pastures. The second one is the D’man which apparently can support high variations in extreme temperatures. In fact, this breed is not well adapted to pastures and requires a special microclimate offered by oases. The information reported in this study will be the basis for the establishment of characterization and selection strategies for Moroccan sheep.


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