Conclusion

In summary, although there has been renewed interest in quantifying plant fracture mechanics, particularly plant tensile strength, indications are that the procurement of forage material is far more complex than can be defined indirectly from assessment of plant mechanical parameters. Looking to the future, there is a call for a more holistic approach that includes the quantification of biting effort from assessment of mechanical properties directly. There is tremendous scope for applying engineering principles in understanding the foraging strategies used by animals of contrasting body mass, and while much of this research in the short term will be conducted at the small scale, it is foreseeable that in the longer term, the work will need to span temporal scales to achieve wider application across ecosystems.

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