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In dry ecosystems like Namibia, where fairy circles are common, competition for water is fierce. Therefore, while we may see a calm savannah landscape, fierce resource competition is actually being waged below the surface, at root level.
“We hypothesize that these barren spots arise due to below-ground resource competition between grasses,” states the report. “Enhanced growth in individuals that are strong competitors for below-ground resources results in the decline in growth of neighboring individuals, thus forming larger interspaces or barren patches.”
In other words, whoever wins the water war essentially condemns his neighboring grasses to death by dehydration, creating a barren patch – the nexus of the fairy circle.
Fairy circles—circular patches of bare soil surrounded by a ring of grass—have long mystified scientists. Now there’s an answer.
Part 3 of my video Namibia: The Big Empty has some nice aerials of something called, Fairy Circles,” a rather unique feature of the Namibia landscape that looks as if it were painted by space aliens using the desert as their canvas. We also fly along the skeleton coast and get a good sense of…
I’m not entirely convinced this isn’t a death march. It’s high noon in the oldest desert on earth. Glancing down at the red sand to see a beetle burrowing back under, saving itself from the scorching heat, I’m transported to a long lost nature program viewed from the comfort of a ‘70s wood-paneled family room…