Six varieties of forage kochia (Kochia prostrata [L.] Schrad.), two Atriplex shrubs native to North America, and four drought-tolerant perennial grass varieties were seeded and evaluated under arid rangeland conditions in Jordan. Varieties were seeded in December 2007 and evaluated in 2008 and 2009 at two sites. Conditions were dry with Qurain receiving 110 mm and 73 mm and Tal Rimah receiving 58 mm and 43 mm of annual precipitation during the winters of 2007/2008 and 2008/2009, respectively. Plants were more abundant and taller (P < 0.001) at Qurain than Tal Rimah in 2008. Forage kochia frequency was 48% and 30% in 2008 at Qurain and Tal Rimah, respectively. However, no seeded plants were observed at Tal Rimah in 2009, suggesting that 58 mm and 43 mm of annual precipitation are insufficient to allow plants to persist over multiple years. At the wetter site, forage kochia abundance in 2009 was similar (P = 0.90) to that observed in 2008 and plant height increased (P < 0.001) from 2008 (14.4 cm ± 1.1 SE) to 2009 (38.4 cm ± 1.1 SE). Sahro-select and Otavny-select were the most abundant forage kochia varieties (P < 0.05), suggesting that these experimental lines could be more adapted to the environmental conditions of Jordan than the commercially available cultivar Immigrant. Frequency of perennial grass varieties declined (P < 0.001) at Qurain from 82% ± 4 SE to 39% ± 4 SE between 2008 and 2009, respectively. Among grasses, Siberian wheatgrass had better stands than crested wheatgrass, with Russian wildrye being intermediate. Based on this study, forage kochia appears to have great potential for establishing palatable perennial shrubs in arid rangeland conditions in Jordan if annual precipitation is at least 70 mm. Arid-adapted perennial grass varieties might also be useful in rangeland restoration if annual precipitation is over 100 mm.
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