Research Article

Plant diversity patterns in neotropical dry forests and their conservation implications

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Science  23 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6306, pp. 1383-1387
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf5080

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Abstract

Seasonally dry tropical forests are distributed across Latin America and the Caribbean and are highly threatened, with less than 10% of their original extent remaining in many countries. Using 835 inventories covering 4660 species of woody plants, we show marked floristic turnover among inventories and regions, which may be higher than in other neotropical biomes, such as savanna. Such high floristic turnover indicates that numerous conservation areas across many countries will be needed to protect the full diversity of tropical dry forests. Our results provide a scientific framework within which national decision-makers can contextualize the floristic significance of their dry forest at a regional and continental scale.

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