1932

Abstract

Early botanical explorers invoked biogeographic history to explain the remarkable tree diversity of Neotropical forests. In this context, we review the history of Neotropical tree diversity over the past 100 million years, focusing on biomes with significant tree diversity. We evaluate hypotheses for rain forest origins, intercontinental disjunctions, and models of Neotropical tree diversification. To assess the impact of biotic interchange on the Amazon tree flora, we examined biogeographic histories of trees in Ecuador's Yasuní Forest, which suggest that nearly 50% of its species descend from immigrant lineages that colonized South America during the Cenozoic. Long-distance and intercontinental dispersal, combined with trait filtering and niche evolution, are important factors in the community assembly of Neotropical forests. We evaluate the role of pre-Columbian people on Neotropical tree diversity and discuss the future of Neotropical forests in the Anthropocene.

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2019-11-02
2024-05-23
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