Domesticating Shrubby Native Legumes for Pastures and Natural Grasslands
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Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018. As ruminant species diversify in natural and managed ecosystems in an effort to increase production, so does the need for greater plant diversity. Legume shrub propagation is rarely targeted for this purpose. As an example, the wide range of native perennial, shrub (0.5-3 m) legumes in Texas indicates untapped potential for multiple uses such as forage, ecosystems services, wildlife habitat, fuel, and possibly pulse crops. We propose that concerted programs to identify, collect, characterize, domesticate and commercialize these legumes could lead to multiple benefits in native and cultivated ecosystems characterized by herbaceous, shrubby and arboreal canopies, each contributing to greater herbage and animal productivity than mono-canopy systems. This approach could be applied in Europe and throughout the world.