Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae): exotic tree with great potential for ecological livestock production in the tropics.
In tropical countries of America, exotic plants such as Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae) have been poorly evaluated despite having various agro-ecological attributes for livestock production. The objective of this review is to present M. oleifera, as a tree species with high potential for ecological livestock production in the tropical zones of Mexico and Latin America. The results indicate that it is a species of fast growth, and has high production of fresh biomass (up to 25.8 t ha-1 yr-1) compared to other forage tree species. Its leaves are rich in protein (>18%) and low in fiber (32.0%), which allows increases in animal production. Additionally, under field conditions, M. oleifera can be associated with various soil microorganisms that contribute to improving the assimilation efficiency of soil nutrients. Also, its leaves have a fast rate of decomposition (85.3%) and release of N to the soil (89.0%) in four weeks of incubation, which could contribute to improve the physical-chemical properties of the soil. The characteristics of fast growth, high production of biomass, good nutritional quality of the M. oleifera forage, show that it is a tree with high potential for ecological livestock production and which can contribute to the conservation of soils in tropical zones.