The Salado River Basin region is the most important livestock breeding area in Argentina and the Lotus species has been traditionally cultivated as forages. Mostly of their land surface is dominated by salt-affected soils with severe constraints for traditional crop cultivation (i.e Maize, soybean, etc.). In order to cope with that limitation, farmers have utilized species such as non-native L. tenuis (ex- Lotus glaber), which shows a successfully naturalization. As a result, inter-seeding of L. tenuis has been proposed as a strategy of choice for improving forage production in marginal areas. The increase in soil quality associated to this legume persistence is achieved by an increment of the organic matter content and improvement of soil fertility. Thus, the introduction of L. tenuis and/or other Lotus genotypes could have enormous benefits for similar constrained lands around the world, due their worldwide distribution.
In Argentina, have been developing an integrated analysis of the changes that occur in soils under Lotus species implantation analyzing the microbial diversity associated and the soil physical and chemical characteristics. In addition, we are identifying some genetic determinants associated with interesting agronomic traits such as plant tolerance against biotic and abiotic stresses and the content of condensed tannins. Now, we are looking forward that our research build-up a solid base for the improvement of agronomical-important legumes and the design and development of better strategies for the management of constrained lands similar to the lowlands in the Argentinean Pampas.