Effects of disturbance on biological soil crusts

Alexandra Reep, Christian Morgan & Lilianne De La Espriella
Drylands are prone to desertification as human disturbances degrade desert ecosystems and limit their capacity to bio-produce. Biological soil crusts, a specialized community of lichen and cyanobacteria, are particularly vulnerable to these disturbances. To gauge the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on soil particle size and soil crust growth, Collema, a widely-distributed genus of soil lichen, was used as an indicator of overall ecosystem health. We used the visual percent cover method in four “low disturbance”...
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