Project: Soil Crust InterNational (SCIN) - Understanding and valuing biological soil protection of disturbed and open land surfaces.

Bare ground is not just bare ground; in fact, the soil surface in areas free of normal vegetation is often covered with a skin made up of a complex community of microorganisms, like cyanobacteria (bluegreen algae), lichens and bryophytes – the biological soil crust (BSC). BSCs can be the only living cover in arid and semi-arid regions such as hot and cold deserts or xerothermic steppe vegetation. They are also the first colonizers of disturbed soils and have major impacts on the soil properties through stabilization, erosion limitation, and facilitation of colonization by higher plants. Despite these immensely important properties that provide protection to large, particularly marginal areas, soil crusts are neither well understood nor well appreciated by conservation and regularity authorities who are missing opportunities for improved policies and actions in the area of land protection. The aim of SCIN is to achieve both better appreciation of the functioning and importance of BSCs in Europe and to add value by contributing to the development of better and simpler soil protection practices and policies. SCIN will provide a much improved understanding of BSC functionality from the severest deserts to the alpine ecosystems.

Acronym SCIN
Duration 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2014
Website visit project website
Network BiodivERsA2
Call BiodivERsA Call for proposals on biodiversity and ecosystem services and their valuation

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Complutense University Madrid Spain
Swedish Museum of Natural History Sweden
University of Graz Austria
Spanish National Research Council Spain
University of Kiel Germany
University of Kaiserslautern Coordinator Germany
University of Salzburg Austria