Soil Crusts and Seedbanks
Biological Soil Crust
Soils of the arid zone are characterised by their low nutrient availability, poor biological activity, fine particle size, and high levels of salinity, alkalinity and sodicity. Biological soil crusts provide important functions in these systems; they bind soil, minimise erosion, fix carbon and nitrogen, and absorb rainfall. Once damaged or removed a biological soil crust can take a long time to restore.
Typically, contruction projects in arid areas remove vegetation and grade the soils; while these activities facilitate site access, they can also destroy the biological soil crust create soil erosion, dust pollution, community concerns, weed and vegetation issues and operational problems that can be experienced over the life of the development.
We offer alternate site preparation, soil testing and an applied approaches to soil and vegetation management to stabilise soils and reduce dust pollution (see Cultana Case Study). Soil testing can be particularly useful in the design phase of a project to inform planning and for developing strategies to reduce dust management and improve habitat regeneration.
Native seedbanks can become depleted in mature plant communities and following disturbance, may require bolstering to ensure an adequated regeneration response.
Seedbank testing provides insight into your site, including its ability to recover after disturbance, patterns of expected growth (e.g. diversity and density of plant species), and your weed profile.