Plant Ecology

, Volume 163, Issue 2, pp 139–154

Vegetation analogs and differences in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres: A global comparison

  • Elgene O. Box

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020901722992

Cite this article as:
Box, E.O. Plant Ecology (2002) 163: 139. doi:10.1023/A:1020901722992


Biogeographic comparisons help to identify similarities, differences, larger contexts, and useful hypotheses. Between the (extra-tropical) Northern and Southern Hemispheres taxonomy differs almost completely, but other useful bases for vegetation comparison include phenophysiognomy, form composition and vegetation architecture, subphysiognomic morphology, environmental limits of plant types, taxonomic richness, and some aspects of function. All major biome types occur in both hemispheres except the boreal forests and analogous montane coniferous forests of the Northern Hemisphere. Some vegetation and plant types appear clearly unique, including Eucalyptus, campo cerrado, and flat-cushions such as Azorella, all of these in the Southern Hemisphere. Different but parallel adaptations to different but analogous conditions include the tall submediterranean forests, temperate rainforests, and continental versus maritime temperate deserts. Climatic limits appear similar in the two hemispheres, but mechanisms for some differences remain unresolved. Per unit land area, the Southern Hemisphere has higher annual net primary productivity than the Northern. Dissimilar analogs continue to suggest hypotheses and research questions.

bioclimatic limitationcomparative biogeographyconvergent evolutiongeographic zonationNorthern versus Southern Hemispheresphenophysiognomyunique plant typesvegetation analogszonal biomes

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elgene O. Box
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Georgia, AthensGeorgiaUSA