Potential role of cryptobiotic soil crusts in semiarid rangelands

Product Type: 

Report, Pages In

Year: 

1995

Author(s): 

Belnap, J

Suggested Citation: 

Belnap, J. 1995. Potential role of cryptobiotic soil crusts in semiarid rangelands. In: Symposium on Ecology, Management, and Restoration of Intermountain Annual Rangelands, U.S. Forest Service, General Technical Report INT-GTR-313. General Technical Report INT-GTR-313. Washington, D.C.: DOI-U.S. Forest Service. 179-185 p.

The role of cryptobiotic soil crusts in the functioning of semiarid and arid ecosystems is discussed. These roles include microstructuring of soils in cold-desert ecosystems, influencing soil nutrient levels, and influencing the nutrient status, germination, and establishment of vascular plants in crusted areas when compared to uncrusted areas. For these reasons, re-establishment of these crusts should be an important part of reclamation efforts. Natural recovery rates and the effectiveness of inoculation efforts are discussed.