The ‘skin of our planet’ is in danger:Here’s how scientists are trying to save it

PBS News Hour

Biological soil crusts, which some researchers describe as “the living skin of the Earth,” are a diverse community of organisms — microbes, fungi, plants and lichens — that plays a crucial role in managing entire ecosystems. And they’re in trouble.

From deserts to polar regions, dryland ecosystems support about one-third of the human population and make up about 40 percent of the Earth’s land surface — and 30 percent of that land is covered by biocrusts. They may not look like much, but if you zoom in close, you’ll start to see a complex web of life — one vital to the health of its environment.

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