The current status of Atriplex on the Cape Verde Islands.
The coastal plains of Santiago Island, Cape Verde, have very low and variable rainfall, saline soil, and a desiccating salt-laden wind. There is very little natural vegetation, and of many introduced trees and shrubs, only Atriplex species have thrived. Plantations have been established, but Atriplex is unpalatable to local livestock and so the primary objective of providing forage is not being met. In recent field trials, several Atriplex species showed good growth but none were browsed, and only A. undulata (65%) and A. canescens (100%) showed over 60% survival. All species had a high salt content, although salt content was lowest in A. canescens, which also had the highest protein content (20%), and this species was therefore identified as worthy of further introduction. An inland plantation of A. halimus which was being browsed by livestock was compared with 2 unbrowsed coastal sites. The inland site was more fertile and had greater cation exchange capacity, and drinking water was more available and of higher quality at the inland site. Possible reasons for the unpalatability of Atriplex to local stock and its resolution are discussed, along with the potential future of Atriplex on the Cape Verde Islands.