Potential of wild annual legumes for mountain pasture restoration at two silvopastoral sites in southern Spain: promising species and soil-improvement techniques

Abstract

This study evaluates the potential for pasture improvement and restoration at two silvopastoral sites. We used a total of 16 wild legume species under different management systems (rhizobial inoculation, mycorrhizal inoculation, sheep penning, and sheep penning with mycorrhizal inoculation), at two mountain sites in Sierra Nevada Natural Park (Granada, southern Spain). The first site, Soportújar, had higher soil fertility and rainfall than the second, Lanjarón. Forage yields in Soportújar ranged from 265 to 8970 kg DM ha−1, Vicia amphicarpa, Vicia monantha, Vicia disperma and Lathyrus clymenum being the most productive species. Mycorrhizal inoculation resulted in higher forage yields for Lens nigricans, V. disperma and Vicia lutea. Seed yields were low, ranging from 5.9 to 1234 kg ha−1. Forage yields in Lanjarón were lower, ranging from 46 to 1415 kg DM ha−1; and the most productive species were V. monantha, V. disperma, Lathyrus cicera and Medicago rigidula. Sheep penning alone and together with mycorrhizal treatment resulted in greater forage yields for most of the species studied, although differences were only significant for V. disperma, V. monantha and Lathyrus sphaericus. Seed yields ranged from 0.4 to 60 kg ha−1. In conclusion, we recommend V. monantha, V. disperma and L. cicera followed by V. amphicarpa and L. clymenum (in wetter more fertile sites) and M. rigidula (in drier sites), as they seem to be the best adapted to the pedoclimatic conditions of Sierra Nevada Natural Park. Increasing nutrients in the soil (by sheep penning) and promoting nutrient assimilation (by mycorrhizal inoculation) may be effective strategies for increasing pasture biomass in silvopastoral sites.

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Acknowledgements

This work has been funded by the National Parks Autonomous Agency (OAPN, Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment) through the project “Investigaciones sobre la flora forrajera natural en mejoras de pastos, restauración forestal y silvicultura preventiva con ganado: una experiencia piloto en Sierra Nevada” (Ref. 748). We would like to thank Baltasar del Pozo for managing the sheep penning, Mycovitro who donated the Glomigel, and Manuel Fernández-López and Pablo Villadas who provided the rhizobium inocula for this study.

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Correspondence to M. E. Ramos-Font.

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Ramos-Font, M.E., Tognetti-Barbieri, M.J., González-Rebollar, J.L. et al. Potential of wild annual legumes for mountain pasture restoration at two silvopastoral sites in southern Spain: promising species and soil-improvement techniques. Agroforest Syst 95, 7–19 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-018-0340-5

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Keywords

  • Wild legumes
  • Rhizobium
  • Mycorrhizae
  • Sheep penning
  • Semiarid Mediterranean silvopastoral systems