Water Regulation in Cyanobacterial Biocrusts from Drylands: Negative Impacts of Anthropogenic Disturbance
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Author/sCantón Castilla, María Yolanda; Chamizo de la Piedra, Sonia; Rodríguez Caballero, Emilio; Roncero Ramos, Beatriz; Lázaro Suau, Roberto; [et al.]
Arid and semi-arid ecosystems are characterized by patchy vegetation and variable resource availability. The interplant spaces of these ecosystems are very often covered by cyanobacteria-dominated biocrusts, which are the primary colonizers of terrestrial ecosystems and key in facilitating the succession of other biocrust organisms and plants. Cyanobacterial biocrusts regulate the horizontal and vertical fluxes of water, carbon and nutrients into and from the soil and play crucial hydrological, geomorphological and ecological roles in these ecosystems. In this paper, we analyze the influence of cyanobacterial biocrusts on water balance components (infiltration-runoff, evaporation, soil moisture and non-rainfall water inputs (NRWIs)) in representative semiarid ecosystems in southeastern Spain. The influence of cyanobacterial biocrusts, in two stages of their development, on runoff-infiltration was studied by rainfall simulation and in field plots under natural rainfall at different spat...
biological soil crust
soil water balance