In this introductory paper for a special issue of the journal Restoration Ecology focused on the restoration of biological soil crusts, authors summarize the importance of biological soil crusts, as well as emerging research efforts using biocrusts in ecological restoration.
Biological soil crusts, or biocrusts, are complex communities of cyanobacteria, algae, lichens, bryophytes and other organisms living in association with the top millimeters of soil. Drylands encompass over 40% of terrestrial ecosystems and face significant anthropogenic degradation causing a loss of ecosystem integrity, services, and deterioration of social-ecological systems. To combat this degradation, some dryland restoration efforts have focused on the use of biocrusts to return many ecosystem functions and services. Authors introduce articles in the special issue that improve the state of current knowledge in biocrust restoration and highlight efforts to effectively restore biocrusts across different ecosystems, across scales, and utilizing a variety of lab and field methods.
Antoninka, A., Faist, A., Rodriguez-Caballero, E., Young, K.E., Chaudhary, V.B., Condon, L.A., Pyke, D.A., 2020, Biological soil crusts in ecological restoration- Emerging research and perspectives: Restoration Ecology, https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.13201