Localized structures in dryland vegetation: Forms and functions Academic Article uri icon


  • Vegetation patches in drylands are localized structures of biomass and water. We study these structures using a mathematical modeling approach that captures biomass-water feedbacks. Biomass-water structures are found to differ in their spatial forms and ecological functions, depending on species type, soil conditions, precipitation range, and other environmental factors. Asymptotic spot structures can destabilize to form ring structures, expanding in the radial direction, or crescent structures, migrating uphill. Stable spot structures can differ in their soil-water distributions, forming water-enriched patches or water- deprived patches. The various biomass-water structures are expected to function differently in the context of a plant community, forming landscapes of varying species diversity.

publication date

  • January 1, 2007