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Recovery Patterns of Cryptogamic Soil Crusts in Desert Rangelands Following Fire Disturbance

Jeffrey R. Johansen, Larry L. St. Clair, Bruce L. Webb and Glen T. Nebeker
The Bryologist
Vol. 87, No. 3 (Autumn, 1984), pp. 238-243
DOI: 10.2307/3242798
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3242798
Page Count: 6
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Recovery Patterns of Cryptogamic Soil Crusts in Desert Rangelands Following Fire Disturbance
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Abstract

The effects of fire on cryptogamic soil crust communities at Camp Floyd State Park, Utah, were examined. Three years after fire, lichen and moss cover were both substantially lower in abundance in the burned area than in the adjacent unburned area. Both the living algae, as measured by culture techniques, as well as the subfossil diatom commi nity, which was measured directly, were also significantly lower in the burned area. Two years later, the algae had shown considerable recovery. Only one group of algae, the chrysophyte cysts observed in the subfossil diatom slides, was significantly lower in the burned area at this time. Though invasion of lichens and mosses had begun after five years, recovery was not complete either in terms of biomass or composition at the conclusion of the study. Factors contributing to the recovery of the crusts apparently included above average precipitation over the last few years, proximity and type of propagules, and protection from subsequent disturbance.

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