Feb. 01, 2019
​​​​​​​​​Degradation processes in living systems often take place gradually by front propagation. An important context of such processes is loss of biological productivity in drylands or desertification. Using a dryland vegetation model, we analyze the stability and dynamics of desertification fronts, identify linea and nonlinear front instabilities, and highlight the significance of these instabilities in inducing self-recovery. The results are based on the derivation and analysis of a universal amplitude equation for pattern-forming living systems for which nonuniform instabilities cannot emerge from the nonviable (zero) state. The results may therefore be applicable to other contexts of animate matter where degradation processes occur by front propagation.

Read more in:

“Front instabilities can reverse desertification”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 048101 (2019)​.
"Scientists Use Mathematical Modeling to Fight Encroaching Deserts", Physics Buzz​​​.
"'Vegetation Fingers' in the Sand Could Reverse Creeping Desertification", ​BGU News​.