Location: Forage and Range Research2012 Annual Report
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.
3. Progress Report:
During FY-2012: Scientists of the FRRL, Utah State University (USU), Logan, UT, and Chinese institutions (initially 5, now 9) created formal relationships in 2009 to encourage scientific exchange and cooperation in areas of genetics and ecologically-based management practices related to rangeland, turf, and pasture species (grasses and more recently forbs and legumes). This resulted in creation of the Sino/US Grass Research Alliance (SUSGRA; 9 university, private, and government institutions) in 2010, which is supported the China Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and ARS. In 2010/2011, ARS recognized SUSGRA as an official project with research ties to the MOST, one of only two such projects (the other is in the area of human health). The SUSGRA led to: 1) The identification of grass germplasm that stabilizes sand dunes in the western deserts of China with recent involvement of the U.S. seed industry (2005-2010); 2) The 2010 International Symposium on Forage, Turfgrass and Biofuel Germplasm Research and the second U.S./Sino Grass Alliance meeting were held at the Northwest A & F University in Yangling, China (October 2010); 3) The second meeting of the U.S./Sino Grass Alliance held in Yangling China (October 2010); 4) Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) between the FRRL and China institutions in 2010/2011 to test elite grass and legume populations in replicated trials in five non-irrigated growing environments across China from hot, humid sites in eastern China to hot, dry sites in western China; 5) In 2012, replicated trials incorporating ARS released and experimental grasses, legumes and sub-shrubs (i.e., forage kochia) were established in six locations across northern China, and; 6) The third meeting of the U.S./Sino Grass Alliance held in Panguitch Utah (June 8-9, 2012; 20 Chinese member attendees of SUSGRA), where reports were made on the establishment of replicated research trials in China. Reports were given on the successes of the establishment of plant materials in the Chinese replicated trails. Three additional Chinese institutions joined the alliance bring the total member institutions to 12. This tour and meeting was held in conjunction with the VII International Molecular Biofuels, Forage and Turf Conference held in Salt Lake City, UT between June 3 and 7, 2012 (183 attendees). Drs. Lan Yun and Liu Rui-Xiang from Inner Mongolia Agricultural University completed their successful one-year studies at the FRRL in plant genetics and ecology, respectively. Lastly, Ms. Yingmei Ma completed her Master of Science degree in the area of plant genetics under the research supervision of the FRRL (2 years) and Dr. Shang Chen of the Practaculture Institute, Heilongong Academy of Agricultural Sciences completed his two-year studies at the FRRL in the area of legume genetics.