Matthew A. Bowker, Jasmine Anenberg, Hilina Yohannes Kebede, Anita Antoninka, Lydia Bailey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Biocrusts are a thin, distinct, cohesive layer at the surface of terrestrial soils, engineered by microbes and cryptogams. They are found throughout the world, especially in drylands, but are also known from cold-limited environments and some disturbed mesic temperate environments. Biocrusts are multifunctional. They are photosynthetic, reduce erosion, accumulate nutrients, influence water redistribution and storage, and interact with other biotic communities. Biocrusts are sensitive to both climate change and physical disturbances, and can be lost much faster than they can subsequently recover. Assisted biocrust recovery techniques are being developed as biocrusts are increasingly incorporated into land management decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Soils in the Environment, Second Edition
ISBN (Electronic)9780128229743
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Biological soil crust
  • Bryophytes
  • Cryptobiotic
  • Cryptogam
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Dryland
  • Lichen
  • Microbiotic crust
  • Moss
  • Soil aggregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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