Applying the socio-ecological approach to biocrust research: a call for scientific action

Año Publicación:  2021
Responsable: L. Maggioli et al.
Journal, Volumen y páginas:
EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts, 16195


L. Maggioli, M. D. Lopez-Rodriguez, S. Chamizo, Y. Cantón & E. Rodriguez-Caballero


Biocrusts play a key role in maintaining drylands ecosystems at the global scale. These keystone communities face important human[ERC1] threats (e.g. climate change) that can result in both biocrust coverage loss and community composition changes and are expected to negatively affect soil biodiversity, and the functioning and resilience of drylands ecosystems. In this adverse scenario, there is an urgent need to develop legal science-based frameworks that underpin their protection. The social-ecological approach, as a research framing oriented to produce scientific knowledge able to properly inform policy actions and management practices, can help us to advance in this direction. By reviewing literature in Spanish biocrusts from the social-ecological approach, here we found that the ecological scopeof biocrust has been widely studied in the last decades; however, the social dimension of their role remained unexplored. In addition, we identified knowledge gaps and new research areas that need to be addressed in order to (1) produce research that better informs policy and society about the role of these keystone communities, and (2) promote the best available evidence on the biocrusts role which can be used to support conservation actions. On this basis, we call for a transition from an "ecological research perspective" to a "social-ecological research perspective" into the biocrust area in order to promote evidence-based conservation practices that contribute to the preservation of these representative communities of drylands all over the world.

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