Study

Facilitative effects of Aloe shrubs on grass establishment, growth, and reproduction in degraded Kenyan rangelands: implications for restoration

  • Published source details King E.G. & Stanton M.L. (2008) Facilitative effects of Aloe shrubs on grass establishment, growth, and reproduction in degraded Kenyan rangelands: implications for restoration. Restoration Ecology, 16, 464-474.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add woody debris to protect seeds/plants

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Sow or plant nurse plants (alongside seeding/planting of grassland species)

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Add woody debris to protect seeds/plants

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2002–2003 in degraded rangelands in north central Kenya (King & Stanton 2008) found that sowing buffel grass Cenchrus ciliaris beside piles of branches did not affect seedling survival. At the end of the first growing season, there was no significant difference in survival between buffel grass seedlings planted next to piles of thorn branches (9%) and those without protection (6%). Survival in the second and third growing seasons after planting also did not differ significantly between seedlings with (91–98%) and without (95–100%) thorn branches. In April 2002, prior to seasonal rains, nine rows of 14 holes (14 cm diameter and 25 cm deep) were dug in bare ground. Seven holes in each row were piled with thorny Acacia branches, and seven holes were refilled as untreated controls. Buffel grass seeds (0.2 g) were sown in furrows 5 cm deep, 20 cm long and 10 cm away on either side of the rows of holes, and covered with soil. The site was grazed at a density of 0.8 sheep and goats/ha. Seedling survival was monitored from April 2002–November 2003, which included three complete growing seasons.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  2. Sow or plant nurse plants (alongside seeding/planting of grassland species)

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2002–2003 in degraded rangelands in north central Kenya (King & Stanton 2008) found that planting buffel grass Cenchrus ciliaris beside aloe Aloe secundiflora nurse plants initially increased seedling survival, but after two to three years there was no increase. Two hundred and twenty days after planting, more grass seedlings planted next to aloe bushes were alive (16%) than those without nurse plants (6%). Survival of buffel grass seedlings in the second and third growing seasons after planting did not differ between seedlings next to nurse plants (84–100%) and those without nurse plants (95–100%). In April 2002, nine rows of 14 holes (14 cm diameter and 25 cm deep) were dug in bare ground. Mature aloe bushes were planted in seven holes in each row, and seven holes were refilled without planting aloe bushes. Buffel grass seeds (0.2 g) were sown in furrows 5 cm deep, 20 cm long and 10 cm away on either side of the rows of holes, and covered with soil. Seedling survival was monitored from April 2002–November 2003, which included three complete growing seasons.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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