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Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are the dominant living cover in many drylands of the world. They possess many features that can influence different aspects of local hydrologic cycles, including soil porosity, absorptivity, roughness, aggregate stability, texture, pore formation, and water retention. The influence of biological soil crusts on these factors depends on their internal and external structure, which varies with climate, soil, and disturbance history. This paper presents the different types of biological soil crusts, discusses how crust type likely influences various aspects of the hydrologic cycle, and reviews what is known and not known about the influence of biological crusts on sediment production and...
Sugar cane cropping for biofuel production reduces water discharge from a northern Indian basin and threatens downstream communities. Regulators want to partition blame between climate change—induced declines in mountain snowpack and excessive evaporation from poorly managed fields. In the same basin, a tiger is found shot. Is it the nuisance animal that has been tormenting local communities, or is it a different animal poached from the upland forests?
This spring, a rare combination of exceptionally warm temperatures and near-record lack of precipitation in the western United States caused a rapid change in hydrologic conditions and an unexpectedly early onset of spring conditions.With much of the western U.S. already in its fifth year of drought, an above-average western snowpack on 1 March 2004 provided hope for much-needed abundant runoff. Unfortunately snowmelt began far earlier than anticipated, resulting in dramatic declines in seasonal spring-summer streamflow forecasts as the month proceeded, declines more rapid by some measures than ever before in the past 75 years. With reservoirs near historic lows, many water users have been hard pressed to deal with...