This volume summarizes our current understanding of biological soil crusts (biocrusts), which are omnipresent in dryland regions. Since they cover the soil surface, they influence, or even control, all surface exchange processes. Being one of the oldest terrestrial communities, biocrusts comprise a high diversity of cyanobacteria, algae, lichens and bryophytes together with uncounted bacteria, and fungi. The authors show that biocrusts are an integral part of dryland ecosystems, stabilizing soils, influencing plant germination and growth, and playing a key role in carbon, nitrogen and water cycling. Initial attempts have been made to use biocrusts as models in ecological theory. On the other hand, biocrusts are endangered by local disruptions and global change, highlighting the need for enhanced recovery methods. This book offers a comprehensive overview of the fascinating field of biocrust research, making it indispensable not only for scientists in this area, but also for land managers, policy makers, and anyone interested in the environment.