When scientists were looking for a better way to restore sagebrush they thought way outside of the box. The solution — a pasta maker.
They insert their special mixture of soil and additives into the pasta machine and make a special “dough” used to create “ravioli” seed pellets. This “dough” serves as a coat armor for tiny sagebrush seeds — providing protection and optimal germination conditions. The pellets have a 70% better chance of survival (than scattered seeds) and can be easily spread across large landscapes.
“When we put them out into the field they emerge quickly,” says Lauren Svejcar, a Research Assistant at Oregon State University (OSU), “and then are prepared and they’re not tiny little seedlings and they can survive through the drought.”
Sagebrush steppe has been reduced by non-native grasses, drought and wildfires. Sagebrush plants are essential habitat, and wildlife (like sage grouse) depend on them for survival.