Articles | Volume 19, issue 1
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06 Jun 2019
Standard article | Highlight paper |  | 06 Jun 2019

Unassisted establishment of biological soil crusts on dryland road slopes

Laura Concostrina-Zubiri, Juan M. Arenas, Isabel Martínez, and Adrián Escudero

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Cited articles

Antoninka, A., Bowker, M. A., Chuckran, P., Barger, N. N., Reed, S., and Belnap, J.: Maximizing establishment and survivorship of field-collected and greenhouse-cultivated biocrusts in a semi-cold desert, Plant Soil, 429, 1–13, 2017. 
Arenas, J. M., Escudero, A., Mola, I., and Casado, M. A.: Roadsides: an opportunity for biodiversity conservation, Appl. Veg. Sci., 20, 527–537,, 2017a. 
Arenas, J. M., Lázaro-Lobo, A., Mola, I., Escudero, A., and Casado, M. A.: The influence of site factors and proximity of adjacent vegetation on tree regeneration into roadslopes, Ecol. Eng., 101, 120–129,, 2017b. 
Arup, U., Søchting, U., and Frödén, P.: A new taxonomy of the family Teloschistaceae, Nordic J. Bot., 31, 016–083,, 2013. 
Ballesteros, M., Ayerbe, J., Casares, M., Cañadas, E. M., and Lorite, J.: Successful lichen translocation on disturbed gypsum areas: A test with adhesives to promote the recovery of biological soil crusts, Sci. Rep., 7, 45606,, 2017. 
Short summary
Can organisms other than vascular plants establish and develop on road slopes? Yes, biological soil crusts (or biocrusts) can. Here, we found that lichen biocrusts are common and relatively abundant in road slopes after ~20 years of construction with no assistance needed. These findings are of critical importance for dryland restoration because biocrusts can speed up ecosystem recovery by stabilizing soil surface, improving soil fertility and facilitating vascular plant establishment.
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