Great Basin Naturalist


Grazed and ungrazed sites were examined in a semiarid woodland in eastern Australia to determine relationships within various types of cryptogams, and the role of cryptogams in pasture dynamics, infiltration, and water erosion. Strong relationships were found between vascular plant cover and cover of cryptogams for nine rangeland sites over an 18-month period. In the absence of vascular plants, sites with low cover of cryptogams were dominated by algae. The presence of a cryptogamic crust had no significant effect on infiltration at ungrazed sites but significantly increased infiltration at some grazed sites. Splash erosion was very low on soils with at least 50% cryptogam cover. Below this level splash erosion increased markedly, along with the proportion of fine sediments lost.