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1. Desertification negatively impacts a large proportion of the global human population and > 30% of the terrestrial land surface. Better methods are needed to detect areas that are at risk of desertification and to ameliorate desertified areas. Biological soil crusts are an important soil lichen-moss-microbial community that can be used toward these goals, as (i) bioindicators of desertification damage and (ii) promoters of soil stability and fertility. 2. We identified environmental factors that correlate with soil crust occurrence on the landscape and might be manipulated to assist recovery of soil crusts in degraded areas. We conducted three studies on the Colorado Plateau, USA, to investigate the hypotheses...
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Biological soil crusts are a diverse soil surface community, prevalent in semiarid regions, which function as ecosystem engineers and perform numerous important ecosystem services. Loss of crusts has been implicated as a factor leading to accelerated soil erosion and other forms of land degradation. To support assessment and monitoring efforts aimed at ensuring the sustainability of rangeland ecosystems, managers require spatially explicit information concerning potential cover and composition of biological soil crusts. We sampled low disturbance sites in Grand Staircase?Escalante National Monument (Utah, USA) to determine the feasibility of modeling the potential cover and composition of biological soil crusts...
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are ubiquitous lichen?bryophyte microbial communities, which are critical structural and functional components of many ecosystems. However, BSCs are rarely addressed in the restoration literature. The purposes of this review were to examine the ecological roles BSCs play in succession models, the backbone of restoration theory, and to discuss the practical aspects of rehabilitating BSCs to disturbed ecosystems. Most evidence indicates that BSCs facilitate succession to later seres, suggesting that assisted recovery of BSCs could speed up succession. Because BSCs are ecosystem engineers in high abiotic stress systems, loss of BSCs may be synonymous with crossing degradation thresholds....
Soil surfaces dominated by cyanobacteria and cyanolichens (such as Collema sp.) are widespread in deserts of the world. The influence of these biological soil crusts on the uptake of bioessential elements is reported for the first time for six seed plants of the deserts of Utah. This sample almost doubles the number of species for which the influence of biological soil crusts on mineral uptake of associated vascular plants is known. These new case studies, and others previously published, demonstrate that cyanobacterial or cyanobacteria- Collema crusts significantly alter uptake by plants of many bioessential elements. In studies now available, these crusts always increase the N content of associated seed plants....
Cryptobiotic soil crusts are an important component of semiarid and arid ecosystems. An important role of these crusts is the contribution of fixed nitrogen to cold-desert ecosystems. This study examines the residual effects of various intensities and combinations of different surface disturbances (raking, scalping, and tracked vehicles) on nitrogenase activity, chlorophyll content, and chlorophyll degradation in these soil crusts. Nine months after disturbance chlorophyll content of disturbed soils was not statistically different from undisturbed controls, except in the scalped treatments, indicating recovery of this characteristic is fairly quick unless surface material is removed. Differences in chlorophyll degradation...
Soil erosion and subsequent degradation has been a contributor to societal collapse in the past and is one of the major expressions of desertification in arid regions. The revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) models soil lost to water erosion as a function of climate erosivity (the degree to which rainfall can result in erosion), topography, soil erodibility, and land use/management. The soil erodibility factor (K) is primarily based upon inherent soil properties (those which change slowly or not at all) such as soil texture and organic matter content, while the cover/management factor (C) is based on several parameters including biological soil crust (BSC) cover. We examined the effect of two more precise...


    map background search result map search result map Spatial Modeling of Biological Soil Crusts to Support Rangeland Assessment and Monitoring Colorado Plateau REA MQ A4: Where are soils that have potential to have cryptogamic soil crusts? Spatial Modeling of Biological Soil Crusts to Support Rangeland Assessment and Monitoring Colorado Plateau REA MQ A4: Where are soils that have potential to have cryptogamic soil crusts?