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 approaches to discovering biogeographic history.
Table of Contents
An Overview of the Plant Diversity, Biogeography
and Conservation of Neotropical Savannas and Seasonally Dry Forests; R. Toby Pennington, Gwilym P. Lewis and James A. Ratter
Biodiversity Patterns of the Woody Vegetation of the Brazilian Cerrados; James A. Ratter, Samuel Bridgewater and J. Felipe Ribeiro
Observations on the Southern Cerrados and their Relationship with the Core Area; Giselda Durigan
Phytogeography of Cerrado Sensu Stricto and Land System Zoning in Central Brazil; Jeanine Maria Felfili, Maria Cristina Felfili, Christopher William Fagg, Alba Valéria Rezende, Paulo Ernane Nogueira, and Manoel Cláudio da Silva Júnior
Flora and Vegetation of the Venezuelan Llanos: A Review; Otto Huber, Rodrigo Duno de Stefano, Gerardo Aymard and Ricarda Riina
The Brazilian Caatinga: Phytogeographical Patterns Inferred from Distribution Data of the Leguminosae; Luciano Paganucci de Queiroz
Floristic Relationships of Seasonally Dry Forests of Eastern South America Based on Tree Species Distribution Patterns; Ary T. Oliveira-Filho, João André Jarenkow, Maria Jesus Nogueira Rodal
Biogeography of the Forests of the Paraguay-Paraná Basin; Rodolphe Spichiger, Bastian Bise, Clément Calenge, and Cyrille Chatelain
The Chiquitano Dry Forest, the Transition Between Humid and Dry Forest in Eastern Lowland Bolivia; Timothy J. Killeen, Ezequial Chavez, Marielos Peña-Claros, Marisol Toledo, Luzmila Arroy, Judith Caballero, Lisete Correa, René Guillén, Roberto Quevedo, Mario Saldias, Liliana Soria, Ynés Uslar, Israel Vargas and Marc Steininger
Inter-Andean Dry Valleys of Bolivia - Floristic Affinities and Patterns of Endemism: Insights from Acanthaceae, Asclepiadaceae and Labiatae; John R. I. Wood
Phytogeography and Floristics of Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests in Peru; Reynaldo Linares-Palomino
Seasonally Dry Forests of Southern Ecuador in a Continental Context: Insights from Legumes; Gwilym P. Lewis, Bente B. Klitgaard and Brian D. Schrire
Mexican and Central American Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests: Chamela-Cuixmala, Jalisco, as a Focal Point for Comparison; Emily J. Lott and Thomas H. Atkinson
What Determines Dry Forest Conservation in Mesoamerica? Opportunism and Pragmatism in Mexican and Nicaraguan Protected Areas; James E. Gordon, Evan Bowen-Jones and Marco Antonio González
Botanical and Ecological Basis for the Resilience of Antillean Dry Forests; Ariel E. Lugo, Ernesto Medina, J. Carlos Trejo-Torres, and Eileen Helmer
Diversity, Biogeography and Conservation of Woody Plants in Tropical Dry Forest of South Florida; Thomas W. Gillespie
The Late Quaternary Biogeographical History of South American Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests: Insights from Palaeo-Ecological Data; Francis E. Mayle
Population Genetics and Inference of Ecosystem History: An Example Using Two Neotropical Seasonally Dry Forest Species; Y. Naciri-Graven, S. Caetano, R.T. Pennington and R. Spichiger
Floristic and Geographical Stability of Discontinuous Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests Explains Patterns of Plant Phylogeny and Endemism; Matt Lavin
The Seasonally Dry Vegetation of Africa: Parallels and Comparisons with the Neotropics; J. Michael Lock
"… the first extensive compilation focused specifically upon patterns of plant biodiversity in the species-rich savannas and seasonally dry forests of the neotropics. This scholarly and expert 484-page overview (contributed to by 59 contributors from around the world) succinctly summarizes what is currently known of the evolutionary history of these particular ecosystems, including links to the development of analogous vegetation in Africa. …focus on plant biodiversity and the molecular phylogenies and molecular population genetics for uncovering the biogeographic history of these ecosystems making it a seminal and necessary addition to professional and academic library Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies reference collections."
Midwest Book Review, August 2006
"Editors and contributors should be congratulated for putting this exciting interdisciplinary synthesis together. This volume is a must have for anyone who is interested in ecology, floristics, phylogeny, and conservation of dry neotropical biomes."—
Marcel Refmanek, Section of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis in Plant Science Bulletin Vol. 54, No. 1, 2008