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Soil crusts in the Molopo Basin, southern Africa

Thomas, Andrew D. and Dougill, Andrew J. and Berry, Kate and Byrne, Jenny A. (2002) Soil crusts in the Molopo Basin, southern Africa. North West geography, 2 (1). pp. 10-19. ISSN 1476-1580


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Biological soil crusts are a common feature of many dryland soils. The cyanobacteria and algae that make up the crusts can fix atmospheric nitrogen and sequester carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. Crusts, therefore, have an important role in nutrient cycling as well as erosion control. This paper provides the first evidence of widespread biological soil crusts in the Molopo Basin on the southern margins of the Kalahari. The crusts appear to be more resistant to disturbance than those reported elsewhere and are able to thrive despite a relatively high vascular plant cover.

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