Intense competition between neighboring termite colonies results in the regular spacing of the mounds. Termites modify soil texture, concentrate nutrients, and increase water content, creating a rich environment for plant growth. By creating these localized patches of trees, termites play a crucial role in African savanna ecosystems: mounds provide habitat for birds, lizards, and other animals, as well as dense concentrations of food resources for larger animals such as antelope and monkeys. This in turn creates positive feedbacks: the animals attracted to mounds reinforce the soil and vegetation differences by depositing nutrients (in the form of dung and urine) and dispersing tree seeds.
This image was taken from a small plane somewhere between the coastal city of Vilanculos and Gorongosa National Park.
Robert M. Pringle, PhD. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, USA