Recovery rates of cyanobacterial-lichen soil crusts from disturbance were examined. Plots were either undisturbed or scalped, and scalped plots were either inoculated with surrounding biological crust material or left to recover naturally. Natural recovery rates were found to be very slow. Inoculation significantly hastened recovery for the cyanobacterial/green algal component, lichen cover, lichen species richness, and moss cover. Even with inoculation, however, lichen and moss recovery was minimal. Traditional techniques of assessing recovery visually were found to underestimate time for total recovery. Other techniques, such as extraction of chlorophyll a from surface soil and measurement of sheath material accumulation, were used and are discussed.