Application of sodium alginate in induced biological soil crusts: enhancing the sand stabilization in the early stage
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Induced biological soil crust (IBSC) technology has proved to be an effective means for speeding up the recovery of biological soil crusts (BSC) in arid and semi-arid regions. This study aims at improving the IBSC technology by using sodium alginate (SA) due to its sand-stabilizing ability in the early development stage of IBSCs. Results showed that SA can easily form a thin film on the surface of soil and can significantly enhance the compressive strength of the topsoil. More importantly, no negative effects of SA on the development and physiological activity of IBSCs were observed, and SA could facilitate the colonization and growth of cyanobacteria on sand. Moreover, the application of SA was much cheaper than the straw checkerboard barriers which are widely used in desertification control. This study suggests that SA can promote and accelerate the formation of BSCs; thus, it can be applied in IBSC technology to enhance the sand-stabilizing property of BSCs in the early stage.
KeywordsBiological soil crusts Ecological restoration Sand stabilization Sodium alginate Water retention
This work has been jointly supported by the Special Fund for Forest Scientific Research in the Public Welfare (20140420402), National Key R&D program (2016YFD0200309-4), and Fund for Sand Stabilization and Circular Economy (2013-N-121) from Qinghai Science and Technology Department. The authors wish to gratefully express their thanks to Yuan Xiao in Testing and Analysis Center of Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, for her assistance in the ultrastructure observation.
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