Résumé : The dynamics of ecological systems are often described by integrodifferential equations that incorporate nonlocal interactions associated with facilitative, competitive interactions between plants, and seed dispersion. In the weak-gradient limit, these models can be reduced to a simple partial-differential equation in the form of a nonvariational Swift–Hohenberg equation. In this contribution, we perform this reduction for any type of kernels provided that their Taylor series converge. Some parameters such as linear and nonlinear diffusion coefficients are affected by the spatial form of the kernel. In particular, Gaussian and exponential kernels are used to evaluate all coefficients of the reduced model. This weak gradient approximation is greatly useful for the investigation of periodic and localized vegetation patches, and gaps. Based on this simple model, we investigate the interaction between two-well separated patches and gaps. In the case of patches, the interaction is always repulsive. As a consequence, bounded states of patches are excluded. However, when two gaps are close to one another, they start to interact through their oscillatory tails. The interaction alternates between attractive and repulsive depending on the distance separating them. This allows for the stabilization of bounded gaps and clusters of them. The analytical formula of the interaction potential is derived for both patches and gaps interactions and checked by numerical investigation of the model equation. This volume is dedicated to Professor Ehud Meron on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. We take this opportunity to express our warmest and most sincere wishes to him.