Phylogenetic classification of the world's tropical forests

J. W.Ferry Slik, Janet Franklin, Víctor Arroyo-Rodríguez, Richard Field, Salomon Aguilar, Nikolay Aguirre, Jorge Ahumada, Shin Ichiro Aiba, Luciana F. Alves, K. Anitha, Andres Avella, Francisco Mora, Gerardo A.C. Aymard, Selene Báez, Patricia Balvanera, Meredith L. Bastian, Jean François Bastin, Peter J. Bellingham, Eduardo Van Den Berg, Polyanna Da Conceição BispoPascal Boeckx, Katrin Boehning-Gaese, Frans Bongers, Brad Boyle, Fabian Brambach, Francis Q. Brearley, Sandra Brown, Shauna Lee Chai, Robin L. Chazdon, Shengbin Chen, Phourin Chhang, George Chuyong, Corneille Ewango, Indiana M. Coronado, Jurgi Cristóbal-Azkarate, Heike Culmsee, Kipiro Damas, H. S. Dattaraja, Priya Davidar, Saara J. DeWalt, Hazimah DIn, Donald R. Drake, Alvaro Duque, Giselda Durigan, Karl Eichhorn, Eduardo Schmidt Eler, Tsutomu Enoki, Andreas Ensslin, Adandé Belarmain Fandohan, Nina Farwig, Kenneth J. Feeley, Markus Fischer, Olle Forshed, Queila Souza Garcia, Satish Chandra Garkoti, Thomas W. Gillespie, Jean Francois Gillet, Christelle Gonmadje, Iñigo Granzow-De La Cerda, Daniel M. Griffith, James Grogan, Khalid Rehman Hakeem, David J. Harris, Rhett D. Harrison, Andy Hector, Andreas Hemp, Jürgen Homeier, M. Shah Hussain, Guillermo Ibarra-Manríquez, I. Faridah Hanum, Nobuo Imai, Patrick A. Jansen, Carlos Alfredo Joly, Shijo Joseph, Kuswata Kartawinata, Elizabeth Kearsley, Daniel L. Kelly, Michael Kessler, Timothy J. Killeen, Robert M. Kooyman, Yves Laumonier, Susan G. Laurance, William F. Laurance, Michael J. Lawes, Susan G. Letcher, Jeremy Lindsell, Jon Lovett, Jose Lozada, Xinghui Lu, Anne Mette Lykke, Khairil Bin Mahmud, Ni Putu DIana Mahayani, Asyraf Mansor, Andrew R. Marshall, Emanuel H. Martin, Darley Calderado Leal Matos, Jorge A. Meave, Felipe P.L. Melo, Zhofre Huberto Aguirre Mendoza, Faizah Metali

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69 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 IEEE. Knowledge about the biogeographic affinities of the world's tropical forests helps to better understand regional differences in forest structure, diversity, composition, and dynamics. Such understanding will enable anticipation of region-specific responses to global environmental change. Modern phylogenies, in combination with broad coverage of species inventory data, now allow for global biogeographic analyses that take species evolutionary distance into account. Here we present a classification of the world's tropical forests based on their phylogenetic similarity. We identify five principal floristic regions and their floristic relationships: (i) Indo-Pacific, (ii) Subtropical, (iii) African, (iv) American, and (v) Dry forests. Our results do not support the traditional neo- versus paleotropical forest division but instead separate the combined American and African forests from their Indo-Pacific counterparts. We also find indications for the existence of a global dry forest region, with representatives in America, Africa, Madagascar, and India. Additionally, a northern-hemisphere Subtropical forest region was identified with representatives in Asia and America, providing support for a link between Asian and American northernhemisphere forests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1837-1842
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2018


  • Biogeographic legacies
  • Forest classification
  • Forest functional similarity
  • Phylogenetic community distance
  • Tropical forests


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