The ecology of dust

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
By: , and 



Wind erosion and associated dust emissions play a fundamental role in many ecological processes and provide important biogeochemical connectivity at scales ranging from individual plants up to the entire globe. Yet, most ecological studies do not explicitly consider dust‐driven processes, perhaps because most relevant research on aeolian (wind‐driven) processes has been presented in a geosciences rather than an ecological context. To bridge this disciplinary gap, we provide a general overview of the ecological importance of dust, examine complex interactions between wind erosion and ecosystem dynamics from the scale of plants and surrounding space to regional and global scales, and highlight specific examples of how disturbance affects these interactions and their consequences. It is likely that changes in climate and intensification of land use will lead to increased dust production from many drylands. To address these issues, environmental scientists, land managers, and policy makers need to consider wind erosion and dust emissions more explicitly in resource management decisions.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The ecology of dust
Series title Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
DOI 10.1890/090050
Volume 8
Issue 8
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 423
Last page 430
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