Abstract The soil crust community from a sub-tropical grassland in southwest Queensland was found to include 34 taxa with cyanobacteria, other algae, lichens, fungi, mosses and liverworts represented. Cyanobacteria and liverworts were the major components of the cryptogamic cover. This is a significant component of the biodiversity of the region. Changes in the structure of this community were significantly correlated with distance from a linear water supply (bore drain) and with dung density. It was concluded that hoof impact by grazing stock had measurably affected the cryptogamic community even under a moderate stocking policy. This research suggests that management for sustainable use of low-nutrient rangelands should include consideration of soil crust condition.