Can the crust still function even if it’s broken?
- Desert soil has a living crust that is essential for fixing nitrogen, a critical plant nutrient, and for avoiding erosion that produces a swirl of itinerant dust.
- When the crust is damaged, dust storms well up, residents of nearby communities develop hacking coughs, snow melts early and a whole array of untoward consequences ensue.
- The issues in the other countries are so much more life-and-death than in the U.S. that I’m not sure that they’ll ever be in a position to worry about crusts, which is a negative feedback loop, of course.
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