1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop technologies and plant germplasm for revegetation and plant performance and to improve degraded rangelands and restore ecological function.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Collaborative experiments will be designed and implemented at jointly identified experimental sites in the Great Basin Area of the United States and Inner Mongolia rangelands. Experiments will be patterned after existing experiments to. 1)develop and assess the performance of improved rangeland grass and forb species, and;. 2)develop cultural methods to more efficiently establish perennial vegetation and to restore ecological function of disturbed rangeland landscapes.
Festuca grass gemplasm collected in 2006 in Kyrgyzstan and Inner Monogolia (central and eastern) was evaluated for drought and heat stress for potential use in the development of low-maintenance turfgrass for western U.S. semi-arid environments. Replicated evaluation [open-field (two locations)] indicates that three accessions from Kyrgyzstan and one from Monogolia may possess tolerance to heat and/or drought stress (drought stress evaluations are ongoing). In 2008, 29 Festuca arizonica, F. ovina, F. rubra, and F. valesiaca , and commercial controls (Dawson, Black Sheep, Manhattan, Shademaster, Cascade, and Coronado) were established in single row space plots (0.5 m between plants on 1 m row centers) at Richmond and Blue Creek, Utah. Abiotic stress measurement techniques are being developed (2008-2009) that more specifically characterize an accession’s ability to withstand stress. The evaluation and development of measurement technologies is critical to breeding for improved low maintenance turf and rangeland grass where the use for inputs (e.g., water and fertilizer) is diminishing at a dramatic rate. In the case of the western U.S. rangeland, drought-tolerant Festuca spp. may add genetic diversity and enrich the habitat for wild life. In the case of turf, these species may have utility for use in roadways, golf course finges, and as green-strips for firebreaks.