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The effect of biological soil crusts of different successional stages and conditions on the germination of seeds of three desert plants

Su, Y.G., Li, X.R., Zheng, J.G., Huang, G.
Journal of arid environments 2009 v.73 no.10 pp. 931-936
desert soils, soil crusts, xerophytes, shrubs, grasses, herbaceous plants, seed germination, China
Biological soil crusts greatly affect soil surface properties, which, in turn, may alter seed germination of vascular plants. We investigated the effects of two types of biological soil crusts (moss crust and algal crust) at different ages on the seed germination of Bassia dasyphylla and Artemisia ordosica. We also investigated the effects of crust conditions (living crust and dead crust) on seed germination of B. dasyphylla, A. ordosica and Eragrostis poaeoides. The presence of both algal and moss crusts significantly enhanced the germination of B. dasyphylla and A. ordosica compared with uncrusted soil. Crust age had no significant effect on the germination of either B. dasyphylla or A. ordosica for both moss and algal crusts. Germination of B. dasyphylla differed significantly between moss and algal crusts, but germination of both A. ordosica and E. poaeoides did not. Germination of A. ordosica, E. poaeoides and B. dasyphylla was significantly higher on living algal crust than on dead crust and uncrusted soil, while living moss crust enhanced the germination of both A. ordosica and B. dasyphylla but had no significant effect on E. poaeoides.