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Biocrusts of Hot Drylands

By Amanda M. Chandler

Apr 17 2023

Hot deserts are found on all continents except Antarctica and Europe. In North America, these semi-arid to arid ecosystems are found only on the western half of the continent. Biocrusts in these regions give the landscape a smoother appearance compared to chilly dryland regions, as cold deserts typically have a much higher ground cover of lichens and bryophytes. As you might imagine, hot dryland BSCs are threatened by activities such as land development, tilling, livestock trampling, fire (including fire suppression), invasive grass species, and pesticide run-off from traditional agricultural practices. Featured here are some of the usual suspects affiliated with hot dryland ecosystem crust communities (Rosentreter et al. 2007, Stone et al. 2020).


Rosentreter, R., M. Bowker, and J. Belnap. 2007. A Field Guide to Biological Soil Crusts of Western U.S. Drylands. U.S. Government Printing Office, Denver, Colorado.

Stone, D., H. Root, J. Hollinger, R. Rosentreter, A. Chandler, and J. Allen. 2020. Texosporium sancti-jacobi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T175708768A175710642. Retrieved from: