Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 107–148 | Cite as

The role of saltbushes (Atriplex spp.) in arid land rehabilitation in the Mediterranean Basin: a review

  • H. N. Le Houérou

Abstract

Arid lands in the Mediterranean Basin harbour populations of saltbushes over substantial areas. These have been grazed for centuries and often cleared. There are also some 100,000 hectares of artificially established saltbushes, both native and exotic; they include no more than half a dozen species, when large scale plantations are concerned. Another dozen of exotic species, introduced from Australia, Southern and Northern America, have successfully undergone field trials and could be used on a large scale in a near future. The present paper attempts to review the current state of knowledge on Atriplex spp. in the Mediterranean Basin as a means of Arid Land rehabilitation at a time where huge areas in the region have undergone processes of severe degradation or have been subjected to desertization, particularly over the past four decades. In spite of a number of constraints in their establishment, management and utilization, the plantation of Atriplex spp. appears as one of the best way, if not the best one, to rehabilitate desertized areas and restore them to production, under the present state of knowledge on arid land rehabilitation. They, in particular, are amenable to inclusion into new, man-made agro-sylvo-pastoral systems of production well adapted to arid lands and to the needs of their populations.

Key words

arid lands rehabilitation fodder shrubs Mediterranean Basin salinity Atriplex saltbushes rangelands desertization agroforestry sylvopastoralism 

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. N. Le Houérou
    • 1
  1. 1.CEFE/CNRSMontpellier Cedex 01France

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