The use of alternative natural methods of reseeding arid native grasslands

TitleThe use of alternative natural methods of reseeding arid native grasslands
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsBarrow J.R., Havstad K, Gibbens, Robert P.
Conference NameIVth International Rangeland Congress
PaginationNo. 354
Date PublishedApril 22-26, 199
Keywordsarid grasslands, natural methods, reseeding
AbstractMany native arid grasslands of the world have been invaded by noxious desert shrubs which have degraded overall habitat values, especially forage productivity and soil stability. This trend must be altered, but revegetation by mechanical means is expensive and the chance of successful plant establishment is low. Animals and water, which are successfully utilized by native species for distributing seeds and establishing new plants, were used to study their potential in dispersing seeds of some forage species adapted to arid conditions. Blue panicgrass (Panic um antidotale Betz.), alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides Torr.), and fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens Pursh Nutt.) seed were inserted directly into steer (Bos taurus) rumens by gelatin capsules. About 50% of the viable seed passed in less than 72 hours. Quail (Colinus virginianus) fed the small seeded grasses passed from 500 to 2000 viable seed per bird within 24 hours. Grasses were transported and established downstream in the more fertile and mesic flood plain areas from artificially seeded plots growing along natural desert arroyos. A seeder was developed that released seeds into these channels during flooding. They were transported downstream and deposited in moist sediment favorable for germination. These methods are inexpensive in terms of cost, labor, and equipment and could be integrated into land and animal management practices that may potentially increase seeding opportunity for desirable forage species.