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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Research Project #433106

Research Project: Improved Seed and Seeding Technology for Great Basin Rangelands

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Project Number: 2070-21630-002-07-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 25, 2017
End Date: Sep 24, 2022

Objective:
Despite significant ARS-generated advances in germplasm (e.g., ARS Logan, Utah) for restoring sagebrush rangelands, improved seed and seeding technologies are necessary to increase success of seeded native perennial plant species. Increased seeding success would help to mitigate expansion of non-native annual grass species and associated increased fuel continuity and fire frequency across tens of millions of acres of western U.S. rangeland. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will use an in-house team to test these technologies across environmental gradients on lands owned, managed or affiliated with TNC. TNC staff will use geospatial information to identify and prioritize treatment areas, which will subsequently inform predictive modeling of seed technology cost-effectiveness across a range of environmental conditions on western rangelands. Specific objectives of this work are to 1) develop a prototype rangeland seeder that minimizes soil disturbance and can be pulled behind small utility vehicles and 2) evaluate the efficacy of time delay seed coatings and herbicide protection pods for increasing perennial bunchgrass restoration success across variable abiotic environments.

Approach:
Seed amendment technology research will involve limited greenhouse work but will focus predominantly on field level studies involving different amendment formulations applied across an environmental gradient of soil moisture and temperature. Seeding technology research will involve fabrication followed by field trials on sites representative of dominant environmental conditions present in the northern Great Basin. All studies will focus on emergent seedling density as the metric of seed amendment/seeding technology success.