USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

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Holding Their Ground: Biocrust Restoration to Help Native Plants and Reduce Soil Degradation

In the Great Basin, soil erosion on burned slopes can be ten times that of unburned slopes. Additionally, revegetation projects often fail because of annual fluctuations in precipitation. Biological soil crusts can reduce soil erosion, and the moss component of these crusts can help retain soil water, improving native plant restoration after fires. USGS researchers will experiment with restoring mosses using two stabilization methods, a jute net or hydro-mulch tackifier. They will compare the jute net against the tackifier to determine how well each method prevents soil erosion, and restores mosses and native plants. Scientists will use a rainfall simulator to mimic a 25-year maximum storm event to determine soil erosion and water runoff amounts on treatments. Findings from this work may aid tribal, federal, state, and private landowners throughout the Great Basin in protecting soils while restoring plants.

Contact: David Pyke, FRESC, 541-750-0989, Profile

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Page Last Modified: 1/31/2013