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Prospects for Improving Mediterranean Grasslands in Lebanon through Seeding, Fertilization and Protection from Grazing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 October 2008

Ahmed E. Osman
Pasture Forage and Livestock Program, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), PO Box 5466, Aleppo, Syria.
Phil S. Cocks
Pasture Forage and Livestock Program, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), PO Box 5466, Aleppo, Syria.


Grassland productivity was studied for four years near Terbol, Lebanon. In the first year pasture availability and plant numbers were monitored along transects, and in the following three years the effects of sowing four Mediterranean annual legumes (three cultivars of subterranean clover and a local ecotype of Medicago rigidula) and top-dressing with super-phosphate were studied. The results indicated that natural grasslands were dominated by annual grasses (Aegilops, Hordeum, Bromur, Lolium and Poa). Legume density was low, which resulted in poor legume productivity, especially in winter. Exotic legumes only resulted in a slight improvement in pasture productivity even when phosphate fertilizer was added. However, partial protection from grazing (for one or two months in late winter and spring) more than doubled the number of legume seeds in the seed bank compared with full protection and open grazing. The build up of seeds in the soil is an essential step towards the improvement of productivity in these degraded pastures, which form a large part of the land surface in Lebanon and on which small ruminant production largely depends.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1992

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