South America

  • L. Patrícia
  • C. Morellato
Part of the Tasks for Vegetation Science book series (TAVS, volume 39)


Comprising about one eighth of the earth’s land surface, the South American continent is situated between 12°N–55°S latitude and 80°-35°W longitude. It covers an area of about 17,500,000 km2 divided between 13 countries. Eighty percent of its land is within the tropical zone, yet it extends into the subantarctic (Davis et al. 1997). Essentially, all life zones and vegetation formations are represented. The principal vegetation types are tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen moist forest, dry forest to woodland (cerrado or woody savanna), open grassy savanna, desert and arid steppe, Mediterranean-climate communities, temperate evergreen forest, and several montane formations (e.g. páramo, stone fields or campos rupestres, puna). The large array of vegetation types comprises some of the most diverse in the world. This includes the upper Amazon forest and Atlantic forest, as well as vegetation types with great concentrations of local endemism, the Andean montane forests and the Mediterranean-climate region of central Chile (Davis et al. 1997). At least 46 sites distributed over eight large regions have been recognized as centers of plant diversity (Davis et al. 1997), and several are considered biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities (Myers et al. 2000).

Key words

Phenological patterns Flowering Fruiting Tropical Climate zones 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Patrícia
    • 1
  • C. Morellato
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de BotânicaPlant Phenology and Seed Dispersal Research GroupBrasil
  2. 2.Universidade Estadual PaulistaSão PauloBrasil

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