Getting started

Navigating around Tropical Forages

The Tropical Forages 'home page' allows for easy access to the information in Tropical Forages without necessarily entering the selection tool.
If you are familiar with clicking on links in web pages on the Internet you will be able to navigate effectively around Tropical Forages. If you are not familiar with an Internet browser, then take some time to familiarise yourself with Tropical Forages: An Interactive Selection Tool by clicking on links and exploring the content. Each browser has a Help menu item that has a contents section explaining how to use the browser.
Home page

The 'home page' directs you to the main elements of Tropical Forages which allows you to:
  • Start a forage selection session enabling you to choose from 180 tropical forage species - see How to select forages.
  • Browse through the forage fact sheets for information on the species included in Tropical Forages - see Forages fact sheets.
  • See who developed Tropical Forages: An Interactive Selection Tool and view copyright/citation information.

Forages fact sheets

By clicking 'Forages fact sheets' an alphabetical list of the 180 forages included in Tropical Forages will appear.
From this list you can quickly and easily view information about any species in the list by clicking on its name. Alternatively, select from the drop down alphabetical grouping by moving the mouse over the 'Fact sheets' menu item at the top of the page.
The information is set out under headings, which give detailed and practical information about each species. The fact sheets also include a list of cultivars and promising accessions. Contact details of possible seed sources are also available at this point. Click to go to Seed Sources.
Each species fact sheet contains links to other species and glossary definitions where the names or words appear in the text.
Images appear down the along the right side of the fact sheet. Most species have multiple images and maps depicting potential growing areas based on environment characteristics.
The layout of every fact sheet is identical and contains the following menu selections:
  • Home - goes back to the starting 'home page'.
  • Glossary - links to a comprehensive glossary with descriptions of terms that appear throughout the text.
  • Fact sheets - links to the alphabetical list of species included in Tropical Forages.
  • Information & Help
    • Overview - a brief summary about the aims of the Tropical Forages project and some background to its development.
    • Getting started - this document.
    • How to select forages - provides examples and a tutorial on forages selection and examines some useful selection strategies.
    • Acknowledgements - recognition of the many people and organisations that have contributed to this project
    • About us/Contacts - a citation record along with contact details for seeds and more information.
  • Search forage references - a link to the 8000+ references selected for the 180 species in Tropical Forages.
Example fact sheet

How to use the forages selection tool

To start the key

  1. Click on 'Selection tool' on the 'home page'
  2. Depending on your browser and the security settings you may encounter a warning screen below. If the screen does appear select the Yes button or the Always button to continue with the selection tool. Identic Pty Ltd is the developer of Lucid™ - the selection tool.
  3. The selection tool screen is divided into four windows with a menu bar and tool bar. The four windows display four lists:
    • Features available: lists the features that can be selected to describe your system. When you first start the selection tool, 17 features will be displayed.
    • Features chosen: will list the features as you select them; when you first start the selection tool this window will be empty.
    • Entities remaining: lists the names of the species that match the features chosen by you; when you first start the selection tool this window lists the entire 180 species included in Tropical Forages.
    • Entities discarded: will list all the species that do not match your descriptions; when you first start the selection tool this window will be empty.
Lucid selection tool

Performing a forages selection

Your aim is to 'describe' the growing conditions or system into which you wish to introduce forages. The description will be influenced by your intended use of the forages, the environmental constraints and physical characteristics of your location of interest. The selection tool will progressively reduce the number of species that have potential for your system.
Tip: The purpose of the description exercise is to not expect that there will be one species at the end of you selection process. A good result to a selection exercise might be that there is five or six species remaining, which can then be thought of as having potential for use. It is important at this stage to consult the fact sheets of the listed species remaining to help make a judgement about their potential for your situation.


The Lucid™ selection tool has a number of features to help describe your forage system. You can do this by choosing from the list of features available. Click on the + symbol left of a feature name to expand it.
There are two types of features, multi state features and numeric features.
Multistate featureNumeric feature
Choose a multi state item by ticking the box or boxes next to the corresponding items which match your conditions:
Tropic selection
Choose a numeric feature by clicking on the panel next to the feature 'rainfall'. Enter a single value:

Or a range:
Rainfall range

You do not have to choose from all of the features when you are describing your system. However the list has been arranged according to the types of questions more commonly asked when describing a system into which forages are to be introduced. For example, 'Intended forage use', 'Latitude x Altitude' and 'Rainfall' are often the best features to begin describing a system and have been located at the top of the feature window.
For more tips about performing a forages selection see the "How to select forages" section.
Many of the 'Features' and all the 'Entities' (species) have an icon to the left of the feature or entity name that either leads to a glossary item or fact sheet.
The selection tool has a toolbar that provides a number of tools to help you with the selection process. The Lucid help documentation has excellent descriptions of these tools.