Pattern Formation in Mesic Savannas

Denis D. Patterson, Simon A. Levin, A. Carla Staver, Jonathan D. Touboul
Nonlinear Sciences, Pattern Formation and Solitons, Pattern Formation and Solitons (nlin.PS), Dynamical Systems (math.DS)
2023-08-24 16:00:00
We analyze a spatially extended version of a well-known model of forest-savanna dynamics, which presents as a system of nonlinear partial integro-differential equations, and study necessary conditions for pattern-forming bifurcations. Analytically, we show that homogeneous solutions dominate the dynamics of the standard forest-savanna model, regardless of the length scales of the various spatial processes considered. However, several different pattern-forming scenarios are possible upon including spatial resource limitation, such as competition for water, soil nutrients, or herbivory effects. Using numerical simulations and continuation, we study the nature of the resulting patterns as a function of system parameters and length scales, uncovering subcritical pattern-forming bifurcations and observing significant regions of multistability for realistic parameter regimes. Finally, we discuss our results in the context of extant savanna-forest modeling efforts and highlight ongoing challenges in building a unifying mathematical model for savannas across different rainfall levels.
PDF: Pattern Formation in Mesic Savannas.pdf
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