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Abstract

Plant ecosystems bordering the Caribbean Basin are rich in native herbaceous legume germplasm that is threatened by land clearing, over-grazing and urban development. These species merit conservation due to their contribution to biodiversity, ecosystems stability, nitrogen (N) fixation, and nutrition of native and domesticated fauna. Agronomic studies of fifteen herbaceous native Texas species with potential commercial applications indicate a wide range in herbage yield (10-120 g/plant/y), crude protein (CP; 110-220 g/kg), neutral detergent fiber (NDF; 310-535 g/kg), acid detergent fiber (ADF; 160-375 g/kg), acid detergent lignin (ADL; 40-140 g/kg), and total condensed tannin (7-90 g/kg) concentrations. Similar programs in other Caribbean locations could have equally beneficial local applications without the dangers inherent in introducing potentially noxious, exotic invasives.

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