Bowker, M.A., J. Belnap, D.W. Davidson and S.L. Phillips
Desertification is a global problem, costly to national economies and human societies. Restoration of biological soil crusts (BSCs) may have an important role to play in the reversal of desertification due to their ability to decrease erosion and enhance soil fertility. To determine if there is evidence that lower fertility may hinder BSC recolonization, we investigated the hypothesis that BSC abundance is driven by soil nutrient concentrations. We propose experimental trials of micronutrient addition to promote the restoration of BSC function on disturbed lands. Arid lands, where BSCs are most prevalent, cover 40% of the terrestrial surface of the earth; thus the information gathered in this study is potentially useful in many places worldwide.