Termites Can Aid in Keeping Desertification at Bay

Igor Heifetz ・ High Meadows Environmental Institute

“Scientists have recently expressed interest in developing ‘early warning systems’ for desertification based on patterns observed in satellite imagery,” Corina Tarnita of Princeton University, US, told environmentalresearchweb. “The problem is that multiple mechanisms can produce very similar-looking patterns – one mechanism might suggest that an ecosystem is on the brink of collapse, whereas another might instead reflect that termites or other ecosystem engineers are helping the ecosystem persist.”