The 3-foot wide tires of thumper trucks destroy cryptobiotic soil crusts.
This damage is from seismic exploration
near Canyonlands National Park in 2001.
According to an official BLM publication for recreationists,
"This crust forms the foundation of our local ecosystem by keeping
the desert floor in place. When disturbed, crushed or smothered
by blowing sand, the critical cyanobacteria in the soil stops
fixing nitrogen, and therefore, can no longer provide essential nutrients.
Once the crust is gone, plants and animals cannot live here. We can't
bring the crust back; we can only protect it so we don't create a wasteland.
Avoid all cross-country travel!"
Apparently the rules are different for oil companies. Shame on the BLM for being so hypocritical.
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