Origins of Biogeography

The role of biological classification in early plant and animal geography

  • Malte Christian¬†Ebach

Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 13)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Malte Christian Ebach
    Pages 21-45
  3. Malte Christian Ebach
    Pages 47-77
  4. Malte Christian Ebach
    Pages 79-106
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 157-173

About this book


Biogeography is a multidisciplinary field with multiple origins in 19th century taxonomic practice. The Origins of Biogeography presents a revised history of early biogeography and investigates the split in taxonomic practice, between the classification of taxa and the classification of vegetation. This book moves beyond the traditional belief that biogeography is born from a synthesis of Darwin and Wallace and focuses on the important pioneering work of earlier practitioners such as Zimmermann, Stromeyer, de Candolle and Humboldt.

Tracing the academic history of biogeography over the decades and centuries, this book recounts the early schisms in phyto and zoogeography, the shedding of its bonds to taxonomy, its adoption of an ecological framework, and its beginnings at the dawn of the 20th century. This book assesses the contributions of key figures such as Zimmermann, Humboldt and Wallace, and reminds us of the forgotten influence of plant and animal geographers including Stromeyer, Prichard and de Candolle, whose early attempts at classifying animal and plant geography would inform later progress.

The Origins of Biogeography is a science historiography aimed at biogeographers, who have little access to a detailed history of the practices of early plant and animal geographers. This book will also reveal how biological classification has shaped 18th and 19th century plant and animal geography and why it is relevant to the 21st biogeographer.


18th century biogeography 19th century biogeography Alexander von Humboldt Alfred Russel Wallace Animal Geography Biogeography Comparative Biogeography Early biogeography Ecological Biogeography History of Animal Geography History of Biogeography History of Endemism History of Phytogeography History of Plant Geography History of Zoogeography Natural Classification Palaeogeography Phytogeography Plant Geography Zoogeography

Authors and affiliations

  • Malte Christian¬†Ebach
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological Earth & Evironmental SciencesUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia

Bibliographic information