Direct seeding of Salsola vermiculata for rehabilitation of degraded arid and semi-arid rangelands
Proper soil preparation provides the basis for good seed germination and establishment of steppe vegetation in the arid and semi-arid areas of West Asia and North Africa. Salsola vermiculata is a key shrub species of the region and contributes to rangeland and livestock productivity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the establishment of S. vermiculata using three different soil preparation techniques since transplanting is often cost prohibitive. This study also aims to assess the establishment in different gradients of gentle landscape depressions for scarification and furrowing; at the top, on slope and at the core. The experiment was conducted in the semi-arid steppe of the Hama District in Syria with three establishment treatments viz., scarification (SC), pitting machine (PM) and furrowing (FR). Our results indicated that the density of S. vermiculata under scarification treatment is 10 folds higher (P < 0.05) than the other two techniques. The results suggest that direct seeding with superficial soil surface scarification may provide a significant remedy for the rehabilitation of degraded arid rangelands. Seeding densities tested on different gradients of landscape depressions were highest on the top, followed by on slope for both furrowing and scarification.