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Although biological soil crusts occur globally in arid and semi-arid environments, the occurrence of biocrusts has not previously been related to individual plant communities at regional scales. 

USGS researchers documented the occurrence of biocrusts in plant communities across the arid and semi-arid western United States using Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring Strategy data from the BLM. They found that abundance of lichens and mosses varies among communities, but that both components of biocrusts are present in all plant communities. They also identified factors that predict abundance of different biocrust components at regional and plant-community scales. This work provides a foundation for the possible inclusion of biocrusts in science and management across the western United States. 


Condon, L.A., Pyke, D.A., 2020, Across the semi-arid western United States, components and predictors of biological soil crusts vary at the regional versus plant community scales: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, v. 7, p. 449, 

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