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soil crust

Currently touted as a solution to soil erosion on seasonally dry rangeland, biological soil crusts are not good protectors of soil because they

  • Are fragile
  • Take a long time to regenerate
  • Grow almost no food to fuel ecosystem processes or feed wildlife
  • Reduce soil's ability to absorb water
  • Keep the soil from breathing
  • Inhibit seed germination, and may keep plant communities from advancing to more productive forms.

Mature soil crusts (ridged areas) show that this landscape in the western U.S.A. has been undisturbed by wild grazers or livestock for decades. Properly managed, this land could support grassland.

Compare our soil crust basics to a conventional view of soil crusts at