A new study shows that termites have ability to slow down the process of desertification of environments. The study was published in the journal Science. Usually termites are viewed as a pest but this study shows that they slow down the spread of deserts into dry lands. They do that by providing a moist refuge for vegetation on as well as around mounds. Nutrients as well as moisture are stored in termite mounds via internal tunnels that allow sparse water to penetrate the soil in a better way. Researchers found that vegetation grew more easily in areas that surround the mounds. The study says that these mounds contribute to recovery after periods of drought because dormant seeds remain protected in the mounds.
“Even when you get to such harsh conditions where vegetation disappears from the mounds, re-vegetation is still easier,” co-author Cornia Tarnita explained in a statement.