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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pendleton, Oregon » Soil and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #125127

Title: BIOLOGICAL SOIL CRUSTS: ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT

Author
item Belnap, Jayne
item Rosentreter, Roger
item Kaltenecker, Julie
item Williams, John
item Leonard, Steve
item Luehring, Penny
item Eldridge, David

Submitted to: Ecology and Management of Microbiotic Soil Crusts
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Vegetation is sparse or absent in arid and semi-arid regions throughout the world. On the soil surface between grasses, forbs, and shrubs, a community of highly specialized, micro-organisms occupies what appears to be open, empty space. Cyanobacteria, green algae, lichens, mosses, microfungi, and other bacteria populate this community. Combinations of these organisms live within the top few millimeters of soil, gluing loose particles together to form a biological crust. Biological crusts are also commonly known as cryptogamic, cryptobiotic, microbiotic, and microphytic crusts. These crusts have the potential to influence nutrient cycling, soil hydrology, plant community development, and soil erosion. This report is an in-depth review of the scientific literature written about biological crusts.

Technical Abstract: Vegetation is sparse or absent in arid and semi-arid regions throughout the world. On the soil surface between grasses, forbs, and shrubs, a community of highly specialized, autotrophic organisms occupies what appears to be open, empty space. Cyanobacteria, green algae, lichens, mosses, microfungi, and other bacteria populate this community. Combinations of these organisms live within the top few millimeters of soil, gluing loose particles together to form a biological crust. Biological crusts are also commonly known as cryptogamic, cryptobiotic, microbiotic, and microphytic crusts. These crusts have the potential to influence nutrient cycling, soil hydrology, plant community development, and soil erosion. This report is an in-depth review of the scientific literature written about biological crusts.