Patterned vegetation and rainfall intermittency Academic Article uri icon


  • We study a mathematical model for the dynamics of patterned dryland vegetation in the presence of rainfall intermittency, adopting a spatially explicit approach. We find that most results found for constant precipitation carry over to the case of intermittent rainfall, with a few important novelties. For intermittent precipitation, the functional forms of the water uptake and consequently of the vegetation growth rate play an important role. Nonlinear, concave- up forms of water uptake as a function of soil moisture lead to a beneficial effect of rainfall intermittency, with a stronger effect when vegetation feedbacks are absent. The results obtained with the explicit-space model employed here are in keeping with those provided by simpler, implicit-space approaches, and provide a more complete view of vegetation dynamics in arid ecosystems.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009