Presenting at the Xeriscape / Arid Lands Conference

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LentilTableToday I presented at the 18th Annual Water Conservation conference at the Marriott Pyramid in Albuquerque.  I also presented at the 17th Annual conference last year so I was honored to be invited back.  This is such a great opportunity that I created a brand new presentation entitled: “Is adaptation possible?: Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change in the Ever-more Arid Southwest.”  The best part of making this presentation is that I needed to process some data I have been gathering for the last couple of years that you can see in this post.  This is an ongoing research project, I am looking forward to replicating these results and charting adaptation to drought over time…

To explain the results, above you see some data on lentil production.  I obtained some lentils from a woman at a seed exchange who told me they were from Lebanon.  I planted them for one year in Taos and call those Taos lentils.  Then I planted some seed from the original seed stock (Leb) next to the descendents of this stock that were planted in Taos one year (Taos).  The year I gathered this data with the two generations we had an exceptional drought in which no water was provided after mid June.  The crops struggled on, but the Taos ones were taller, produced flowers, and produced legumes where the Leb generation produced no flowers nor legumes, but interestingly demonstrated the will to reproduce with 6 plants trying to produce to the very end of the season…


In a similar study, fava beans were obtained from a farmer in Vadito, known as ‘Vadito’ in the table above.  These favas were planted in a drought year where almost all of the plants dried up from water stress.  Yet I was able to still harvest a handful of seed that I would assume are the most drought tolerant of the population in the field, seeds that I will call ‘Taos’.  I planted these Taos seeds in a row of Vadito seeds and compared production.  You can see in the table above that the acclimatized seeds (Taos) produced significantly more than their parental generation that had never experience drought.

I find these results to be so profound that I will not totally believe them until I can replicate to see if this is indeed the case: that locally adapted seed will outproduce crops that have no experience in a given locale or to adverse conditions relative to those crops that do have that experience.

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