Complex landscapes from simple ecohydrological feedbacks

G. S. McGrath, Kyungrock Paik, C. Hinz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Self-organised vegetation patterns arise in water limited systems as a result of the interaction of short range facilitation and long range competition. On smooth and gently sloped terrain banded vegetation patterns are known to spontaneously emerge as a result of these feedbacks. These ecohydrological interactions can also impact erosion and thus alter the long term variation in surface water redistribution patterns via changes to the topography. We explore the effect of this additional process on the geomorphology and spatial organisation of vegetation. The model is shown capable of reproducing banded vegetation patterns on a smooth hillslope in the absence of erosion. With significant fluvial erosion vegetation bands degrade and instead form a complex network of patchy vegetation colonizing main drainage channels. These channels in turn dissect a lumpy microtopography associated with the patches, containing a characteristic mound scale. This type of landform contains features resembling some real patchy semiarid hills. Decreasing the extent to which plants can locally increase soil hydraulic conductivity causes the resulting landform and vegetation pattern to be significantly different. Models investigating this co-evolution of form and function appear to offer new insights into the dynamics of water limited ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMODSIM 2011 - 19th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation - Sustaining Our Future: Understanding and Living with Uncertainty
Pages2528-2534
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec 1
Event19th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation - Sustaining Our Future: Understanding and Living with Uncertainty, MODSIM2011 - Perth, WA, Australia
Duration: 2011 Dec 122011 Dec 16

Other

Other19th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation - Sustaining Our Future: Understanding and Living with Uncertainty, MODSIM2011
CountryAustralia
CityPerth, WA
Period11/12/1211/12/16

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Keywords

  • Eco-hydrology
  • Feedbacks
  • Geomorphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation

Cite this

McGrath, G. S., Paik, K., & Hinz, C. (2011). Complex landscapes from simple ecohydrological feedbacks. In MODSIM 2011 - 19th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation - Sustaining Our Future: Understanding and Living with Uncertainty (pp. 2528-2534)