Biocrusts in Disturbed Areas

By Amanda M. Chandler

Apr 17 2023

Our crusty companions play many imperative restoration roles in disturbed habitats, as they facilitate the reestablishment of seed plants (that means flowers and trees, friends!) by aiding in germination processes (Root et al. 2017, Stone et al. 2020). The flipside of their contribution in such localities is that they are also threatened by the very same disturbances that enable their existence. Impacts such as land clearing (including tilling), invasive grasses, and trampling by live-stock are common threats in drylands of the western United States, where a number of rare lichen species associated with BSCs are found. Here we feature some species commonly associated with disturbed soils, as well as some individual collections that have been made at disturbed sites.


Root, H.T., J.C. Brinda, E.K. Dodson. 2017. Recovery of biological soil crust richness and cover 12-16 years after wildfires in Idaho, USA. Biogeosciences 14: 3957-3969.

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: