Self-Replication of Localized Vegetation Patches in Scarce Environments
Clerc Gavilán, Marcel
Cita de ítem
Scientific Reports. Volumen: 6 Número de artículo: 33703
Desertification due to climate change and increasing drought periods is a worldwide problem for both ecology and economy. Our ability to understand how vegetation manages to survive and propagate through arid and semiarid ecosystems may be useful in the development of future strategies to prevent desertification, preserve flora-and fauna within-or even make use of scarce resources soils. In this paper, we study a robust phenomena observed in semi-arid ecosystems, by which localized vegetation patches split in a process called self-replication. Localized patches of vegetation are visible in nature at various spatial scales. Even though they have been described in literature, their growth mechanisms remain largely unexplored. Here, we develop an innovative statistical analysis based on real field observations to show that patches may exhibit deformation and splitting. This growth mechanism is opposite to the desertification since it allows to repopulate territories devoid of vegetation. We investigate these aspects by characterizing quantitatively, with a simple mathematical model, a new class of instabilities that lead to the self-replication phenomenon observed.