Fairy circles apparently not created by termites after all

May 21, 2014 12:54 PM

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Fairy circles apparently not created by termites after all

Leipzig. For several decades scientists have been trying to come up with an explanation for the formation of the enigmatic, vegetation-free circles frequently found in certain African grassland regions. Now researchers have tested different prevailing hypotheses as to their respective plausibility. For the first time they have carried out a detailed analysis of the spatial distribution of these fairy circles – and discovered a remarkably regular and spatially comprehensive homogenous distribution pattern. This may best be explained by way of reference to local resource-competition for water among plants and vegetation, the team now reports in the scientific journal Ecography.

It looks like a landscape covered with freckles. Arid grassland regions in certain parts of southwest Africa are covered with barren circular patches. Some of these measure only a few metres, others reach up to twenty (20) metres in diameter; and most of them display pronounced and lush peripheral g...

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