More often than not, when people think of a neotropical forest, what comes to mind is a rain forest, rather than a dry forest. Just as typically, when they imagine a savanna, they visualize the African plains, rather than those dry woodlands and grasslands found in the Neotropics. These same preconceptions can be found among scientists, as these neotropical biomes receive nowhere near the attention they should - in terms of both research and conservation -considering the amount of land they encompass and the diversity of vegetation they contain.
Neotropical Savannas and Dry Forests: Plant Diversity, Biogeography, and Conservation provides an engaging synthesis of information on the plant diversity and geography, as well as the conservation status, of these species-rich areas. This impressive compilation is the result of a plant diversity symposium that took place during an international conference on tropical savannas and seasonally dry forests held in 2003. Fifty leading scientists, representing a variety of disciplines have contributed to the chapters of this book in an effort to address three questions:
What are the patterns of diversity, species-richness and endemism of the floras of neotropical seasonally dry forest and savannas?
How and why did this endemism and diversity arise?
Are these ecosystems adequately protected and, if not, which areas should be elevated into priorities for conservation, and how can this be best achieved?
This work is the first extensive compilation of the patterns of plant biodiversity in these neotropical ecosystems. The overview also provides a summary of what is known of their evolutionary history, including an examination of the links to the development of analogous vegetation in Africa. In contrast to previously published titles that emphasize ecology and physiology, this work focuses on plant biodiversity and reviews molecular phylogenetic and molecular population genetic approache
Table of Contents
The Phytogeography and Beta Diversity of the Brazilian Cerrados. Relationship of the Southern Cerrados with the Core Area. Diversity, Floristics and Structure of the Cerrado Vegetation of Central Brazil. The Flora and Vegetation of the Venezuelan Llanos. The Caatingas of Northeast Brazil. Floristic Relationships Among Seasonal Forests in SE Brazil and Their Links to Rain Forests, Cerrados, and Caatingas. Floristic and Structural Relationships of Tabuleiro Forests in NE Rio de Janero, Southern Bahia and Northern Espirito Santo. The Paraguay-Panama Basin as an Ecotone: Its Significance for Neotropical Biogeography and Palaeo-biogeography. The Forests of the Bolivian Chiquiotano. Interandean Valleys of Bolivia and Their Floristic Relationships: Insights from Acanthaceae, Apocycaceae and Labiatae. Seasonally Dry Forests of Southern Equador in a Continental Contest: Insights from Legumes. Phytogeography of Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests in Pacific Northwestern South America. Conservation of Tropical Dry Forests in Central America: Linking Regional and Local Scales in Biodiversity Assessment. Tropical Dry Forests in South Florida. An Alternative View of the Seasonally Dry Forests of Tropical Latin America: the Floristic Approach. The Seasonally Dry Vegetation of Africa - Parallels and Comparisons with the Neotropics. Population Genetic Studies of Astronium Urundeuva in Paraguay and the Inference of Ecosystem History. The Biogeographic History of Neotropical Savannas and Seasonally Dry Forests: Insights from Molecular Phylogenies. Historical Links of Seasonally Dry Ecosystems of Africa and the Neotropics: Insights from Plant Molecular Phylogenies.