Empirically validated mathematical models show that a combination of intraspecific competition between subterranean social-insect colonies and scale-dependent feedbacks between plants can explain the spatially periodic vegetation patterns observed in many landscapes, such as the Namib Desert ‘fairy circles’.
A theoretical foundation for multi-scale regular vegetation patterns
Corina E. Tarnita, Juan A. Bonachela, Efrat Sheffer, Jennifer A. Guyton, Tyler C. Coverdale, Ryan A. Long & Robert M. Pringle
Nature 541, 398–401 (19 January 2017) doi:10.1038/nature20801