06 February 2015
Vol 347, Issue 6222

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

COVER Termite mounds (shown here in the Tanami Desert, Australia) are ubiquitous in tropical grasslands and savannas, where they generate distinctive spatial patterns and influence key ecological processes. These regularly spaced mounds are often resource-rich relative to surrounding soils, enhancing plant growth on and/or around the mounds. Mathematical models show that these local enhancements can reduce the susceptibility of arid ecosystems to catastrophic desertification following drought. See pages 596 and 651.
Photo: © William D. Bachman/Science Source