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  • Yunge Zhao
  • Matthew A. Bowker
  • Yuanming Zhang
  • Eli Zaady

Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are sensitive to anthropogenic and natural disturbances and are slow to recover in many ecosystems. Rehabilitation of biocrusts can accelerate the recovery of their structure and function and also assist in speeding restoration of degraded ecosystems. In this chapter we review the theoretical foundations, principles, and methods of biocrust rehabilitation and its effect on the recovery of ecological functions. Several studies have demonstrated the feasibility of rehabilitation by inoculations with biocrust organisms. They include the culture of cyanobacteria and mosses in the laboratory and their application as field inoculant. Rehabilitation of lichen crusts has been less successful to date, as lichens require much longer to grow under lab or field conditions. There are still many topics worthy of future study, including the improvement of methods for field application of biocrust inocula, the scaling-up of moss culture techniques, and the exploration of more moss species as inocula.

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Enhanced Recovery of Biological Soil Crusts After Disturbance
  • Yunge Zhao
  • Matthew A. Bowker
  • Yuanming Zhang
  • Eli Zaady
Enhanced Recovery of Biological Soil Crusts After Disturbance

Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are sensitive to anthropogenic and natural disturbances and are slow to recover in many ecosystems. Rehabilitation of biocrusts can accelerate the recovery of their structure and function and also assist in speeding restoration of degraded ecosystems. In this chapter we review the theoretical foundations, principles, and methods of biocrust rehabilitation and its effect on the recovery of ecological functions. Several studies have demonstrated the feasibility of rehabilitation by inoculations with biocrust organisms. They include the culture of cyanobacteria and mosses in the laboratory and their application as field inoculant. Rehabilitation of lichen crusts has been less successful to date, as lichens require much longer to grow under lab or field conditions. There are still many topics worthy of future study, including the improvement of methods for field application of biocrust inocula, the scaling-up of moss culture techniques, and the exploration of more moss species as inocula.

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