January 19, 2021 – The flat, desert-like landscape of west Texas has harsh conditions. Years of wind erosion have carved into the rock, and there isn’t enough rainfall to support anything larger than a bush. Plants are struggling to keep soil in place. This Science Society of America’s (SSSA) January 15th Soils Matter Blog explains how there’s more than meets the eye in this area.

According to blogger Hannah Decker, “despite the many challenges that this semi-arid environment might present to the ecosystem, it also creates the perfect opportunity for biological soil crusts. These biocrusts consist of a network or bacteria, fungi, moss, lichen, and algae that work together to form a hard layer on the top of the soil.”

Much of the land in this region has undergone tillage for many decades, which can damage the soil structure. Since the dust bowl in the 1930s, researchers have been looking for ways to keep the topsoil in place and organisms that create biological crusts might play a key role. To learn more, read the entire blog: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2021/01/15/are-the-west-texas-rangelands-barren/

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