Ever since Darwin introduced the idea of descent with modification, the quest of deciphering the Tree of Life of all organisms has become a central theme in biology. As it turned out, completing the Tree of Life resulted in one of the grand challenges in science, on par with investigating the nature of matter or the origin of the universe – we seek to better understand our origin and that of all other living beings.
It is of utmost interest to find indicators of regime shifts that can anticipate drastic declines in ecosystem functionality. Our study suggest that the spatial pattern of vegetation can identify the different states of functionality found in a global dryland survey.
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