Sunday, November 15, 2015

CRC Features our Biocrust Restoration work

This fall we set up two experiments at the Canyonlands Research Center. In the first, we transplanted intact biocrusts to three "home" or "away" locations from 1200, 1600 and 2000m to determine if biocrusts are best adapted to their home environment, and thus need to be locally sourced for restoration. In a second experiment, we are testing method to successfully establish greenhouse-cultivated biocrusts to the field to maximize success for future restoration efforts.

You can read the Fall 2015 CRC newsletter, the Sundial, which highlights our work along with others doing important work on biocrust and vascular plant restoration:

A rainbow over our newly-established biocrust common garden. Light rains welcome the biocrust transplants to their new home.

In a full-factorial experiment, we are testing methods to ease the transition of greenhouse cultivated biocrusts to the field to maximize establishment. Methods tested here include: hardening of inoculum, jute addition, and water addition for 2 weeks following introduction to the field.

Straw checkerboards show promise in stabilizing soils, and providing good habitat for biocrust establishment. We are testing it's effectiveness with no inoculum, greenhouse cultivated inoculum, or greenhouse cultivated and hardened inoculum.

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