Grassland Restoration Forum

GRF Winter Webinar IV – Rangeland Biological Soil crusts: Their Ecological Functions in the Northern Great Plains and Industrial Disturbance Response

Lysandra Pyle,  Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and Edward Bork, University of Alberta

Biological soil crusts are an understudied but integral component of rangeland vegetation in the Northern Great Plains. These cryptic communities of lycophytes, bryophytes, lichens, algae, and bacteria stabilize prairie soils, fix both carbon and nitrogen, retain soil moisture, and influence vascular plant community dynamics. The importance of biological soil crusts will be discussed in the context of common rangeland plant community types, rangeland management, soil and rangeland health. Further, data will be presented from a case study examining the impacts of oil and gas infrastructure on mixed grass prairie vascular plant cover, germinable soil seed bank, and biological soil crusts at 18 pipeline sites in southeast Alberta. We measured the impacts of pipelines on prairie vegetation along a distance gradient up to 55 m from trench edges. Biological soil crusts are sensitive to disturbance and recover slowly. Importantly, their soil cover influences seed bank formation, seedling recruitment, serving a role in rangeland vegetation assemblages and invasive species establishment. This has implications for plant communities recovering from disturbance.

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Email Donna directly at [email protected] for last-minute registrations/meeting access info.

Event Cancellation

How to Use the Range Plant Community Guides and Recovery Strategies

Unfortunately with a number of late cancellations for the Range Plant Community Guides & Recovery Strategies Workshop scheduled for September 13th, 2023 we’ve had to make the tough decision to cancel the workshop for this fall due to insufficient registrations for a cost recovery event.  We will be offering the same workshop in conjunction with the CLRA Conference in March 2024.  The GRF Mailing list will receive notice/announcements about the event as details become available.

We are still proceeding as planned with the Grassland Assessment Classroom & Hands on Field Training on September 14th at the Cassils Hall/Antelope Creek Ranch.

Apologies for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.