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A topographic mechanism for the arcing of vegetation bands in dryland ecosystems

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    Punit Gandhi

    Banded vegetation patterns have been observed in water-limited ecosystems across the globe, often appearing along sloped terrain with the stripes aligned transverse to the grade.  Initial field observations suggest a link between the arcing of the bands and the curvature in elevation transverse to the slope.  We  present a simple model that qualitatively captures the influence of topography on the vegetation pattern.  In particular, the model predicts that the curvature of the stripes can change direction when growing on top of a ridge versus within a channel. The model also predicts transitions between qualitatively different striped patterns as a function of the channel depth, precipitation parameter and plant mortality parameter.

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