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Vegetation patterns have attracted increasing interest in recent years since they can be used as a key indicator of ecosystem robustness. As one of the vital factors affecting vegetation structures, human activities have been widely explored in the literature. Nevertheless, the effects of spatiotemporal heterogeneity of human activities on vegetation patterns are far from being well explained.
Here, we address this issue by applying optimal control theory to the dryland vegetation-water model.
We find that the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of human activities leads to the transition from different states to desired vegetation patterns, including the spot, labyrinth, and gap patterns, and thus increases the diversity of pattern structures. The heterogeneity in human activities is also found to promote the vegetation growth in low-rainfall areas, which in turn effectively prevents vegetation desertification.
Our robustness analysis fully supports these findings. This work well quantitatively links human activities with ecosystems robustness and helps provide new insights for biodiversity conservation.
L. Hou, G. Sun, M. Perc, The impact of heterogeneous human activity on vegetation patterns in arid environments, Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation 26 (2023) 107461