Comparative Evaluation of Factors Influencing Seed Displacement Over the Soil of Nonconventional Perennial Crops: Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.) and Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.)

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Planning the vegetation restoration of badlands requires an understanding of the mechanisms associated with seed transport due to runoff and soil erosion. This is particularly important in semiarid environments, such as those found in Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil, where rainfall mostly occurs in the form of intense short-term events with a high potential to trigger strong runoff and soil erosion processes. The aim of this laboratory study was to evaluate the effect of seed morphology, surface slope, soil surface cover conditions, and rainfall characteristics on the transport of moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.) and neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.) seeds in a soil flume under simulated rainfall. Rainfall intensities (45–270 mm h−1) and patterns (uniform, advanced, and delayed) were simulated on a variety of surface slopes (10%, 30%, 50%, and 70%), where 27 seeds of each species were distributed on the soil surface of bare soil or under applied mulching (coconut powder at a density of 8 t ha−1). Seed transport by runoff increased with rainfall intensity and surface slope and decreased with mulching. This study suggests that the application of mulch as an erosion control technique and the use of heavy and flat seeds would help vegetation restoration on steep slopes highly prone to soil erosion.

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