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Acta botánica mexicana

versión On-line ISSN 2448-7589versión impresa ISSN 0187-7151


PEREZ-GARCIA, Eduardo A; MEAVE, Jorge A  y  CEVALLOS-FERRIZ, Sergio R. S.. Flora and vegetation of the seasonally dry tropics in Mexico: origin and biogeographical implications. Act. Bot. Mex [online]. 2012, n.100, pp.149-193. ISSN 2448-7589.

Among the many explanations for the large biological diversity of Mexico is that it is the result of the contact between the Nearctic and Neotropical biotas; however, this contact-related explanation is not fully satisfactory and needs further examination in the light of historical biogeography. We offer newer insights into this issue by examining the history of the flora and the vegetation heterogeneity of the seasonally dry tropics of this country. Several environmental criteria can be used to define the seasonally dry tropical regions, but setting their precise geographical boundaries is not always straightforward. This is largely due to the large vegetation heterogeneity of this region, within which the tropical dry forest (TDF) is prominent. The origin of the TDF flora can be traced back at least as far as 20 million years before present and seems to be associated with the Tertiary North American flora. Available evidence does not support a South American origin of the TDF flora. Similarly, the separation of the TDF and the hot North American desert floras into two different biogeographical realms is not warranted. The history of the seasonally dry tropical flora of Mexico strongly suggests that this biogeographical dichotomy should be replaced by the recognition of the existence of a Pan-American Realm.

Palabras llave : Holarctic Realm; Neotropical Realm; phytogeography; tropical dry forest; vegetation heterogeneity.

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