Efrat Sheffer

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Mediterranean landscapes are composed of different interacting vegetation patches. Pine and oak ecosystems form contiguous patches within these landscapes, in pure stands, or as mixed pine–oak ecosystems. During the nineteenth century, pine forest distribution in the Mediterranean Basin increased dramatically as a result of large-scale re-forestation and(More)
Self-organized spatial vegetation patterning is widespread and has been described using models of scale-dependent feedback between plants and water on homogeneous substrates. As rainfall decreases, these models yield a characteristic sequence of patterns with increasingly sparse vegetation, followed by sudden collapse to desert. Thus, the final, spot-like(More)
In this article, we develop a unifying framework for the understanding of spatial vegetation patterns in heterogeneous landscapes. While much recent research has focused on self-organised vegetation the prevailing view is still that biological patchiness is mostly due to top-down control by the physical landscape template, disturbances or predators. We(More)
Plant colonization studies usually address density-dependent processes in the narrow sense of recruitment constraints due to negative density-dependent seed and seedling mortality. However, complex density-dependent effects may be involved in additional stages of the recruitment process. We hypothesized that seed arrival and seedling establishment are(More)
Afforestation efforts have resulted in extensive plantations of either native or non-native conifers, which in many regions has led to the spread of those conifers into surrounding natural vegetation. This process of species colonization can trigger profound changes in both community dynamics and ecosystem processes. Our study disentangled the complexity of(More)
Species affect the dynamics of litter decay through the intrinsic properties of their litter, but also by influencing the environmental conditions imposed by their canopy, roots, and litter layers. We examined how human-induced changes in the relative abundances of two dominant Mediterranean trees—Pinus halepensis and Quercus calliprinos—impact leaf litter(More)
A common patch form in dryland landscapes is the vegetation ring. Vegetation patch formation has recently been attributed to self-organization processes that act to increase the availability of water to vegetation patches under conditions of water scarcity. The view of ring formation as a water-limited process, however, has remained largely unexplored.(More)
Self-organized regular vegetation patterns are widespread and thought to mediate ecosystem functions such as productivity and robustness, but the mechanisms underlying their origin and maintenance remain disputed. Particularly controversial are landscapes of overdispersed (evenly spaced) elements, such as North American Mima mounds, Brazilian murundus,(More)
Dinitrogen fixation by plants (in symbiosis with root bacteria) is a major source of new nitrogen for land ecosystems(1). A long-standing puzzle(2) is that trees capable of nitrogen fixation are abundant in nitrogen-rich tropical forests, but absent or restricted to early successional stages in nitrogen-poor extra-tropical forests. This biome-scale pattern(More)
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