A Review of Plant Phenology in South and Central America

  • L. Patrícia C. MorellatoEmail author
  • Maria Gabriela G. Camargo
  • Eliana Gressler


Phenology has established its status as an integrative environmental science and as a key component for climate change research. We aim to present a review of phenological research in South and Central America. We describe the flowering and fruiting patterns of the main vegetation types studied to date, and highlight areas where phenological information is lacking. Phenological research is still required even though the number of papers published has increased, especially in the twenty-first century. The distribution of phenological studies on South American vegetation was very uneven over the different vegetation types and life forms. Tropical moist forest continues to be, by far, the most widely studied ecosystem while trees were the life-form observed in almost all papers surveyed. Currently, long-term phenological datasets are rare and few long-term monitoring systems are known for South and Central America. Few papers reviewed were concerned with the effects of climatic change and its evaluation using plant phenology, which differed greatly from Northern Hemisphere research which had a strong focus on phenology and climate change. Among new developments we mention phenology and edge effects and fragmentation, and remote monitoring of phenology with digital cameras. Finally, building phenology networks is the greatest challenge for South and Central American phenologists, demanding an effort from and cooperation among universities, research institutions, governmental, and non-governmental agencies.


Barro Colorado Island Tropical Moist Forest Phenological Pattern Semideciduous Forest Woody Savanna 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Irene Mendoza for help in many ways during the literature and data survey. The authors were supported by research grants from FAPESP (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo); L.P.C.M. receives a research productivity fellowship from the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq); M.G.G.C. and E.G. received fellowships from FAPESP. We are also thankful to Linda Chambers, Alison Donnelly and Irene Mendoza for the chapter review and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Patrícia C. Morellato
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria Gabriela G. Camargo
    • 1
  • Eliana Gressler
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Botânica, Laboratório de Fenologia, Plant Phenology and Seed Dispersal Research Group, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade Estadual Paulista UNESPSão PauloBrazil

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