Pedological and geological relationships with soil lichen and moss distribution in the eastern Mojave Desert, CA, USA

Journal of Arid Environments
By: , and 

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Abstract

Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are ubiquitous in drylands globally. Lichens and mosses are essential biocrust components and provide a variety of ecosystem services, making their conservation and management of interest. Accordingly, understanding what factors are correlated with their distribution is important to land managers. We hypothesized that cover would be related to geologic and pedologic factors. We sampled 32 sites throughout the eastern Mojave Desert, stratifying by parent material and the age of the geomorphic surfaces. The cover of lichens and mosses on ‘available ground’ (L + Mav; available ground excludes ground covered by rocks or plant stems) was higher on limestone and quartzite-derived soils than granite-derived soils. Cover was also higher on moderately younger-aged geomorphic surfaces (Qya2, Qya3, Qya4) and cutbanks than on very young (Qya1), older-aged surfaces (Qia1, Qia2), or soils associated with coppice mounds or animal burrowing under Larrea tridentata. When all sites and parent materials were combined, soil texture was the most important factor predicting the occurrence of L + Mav, with cover positively associated with higher silt, very fine sand, and fine sand fractions and negatively associated with the very coarse sand fraction. When parent materials were examined separately, nutrients such as available potassium, iron, and calcium became the most important predictors of L + Mav cover.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Pedological and geological relationships with soil lichen and moss distribution in the eastern Mojave Desert, CA, USA
Series title Journal of Arid Environments
DOI 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2014.02.007
Volume 106
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 13 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Arid Environments
First page 45
Last page 57
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Mojave Desert