This book describes the vegetation of the Canary Islands for students and scholars of nature. It shows the great floristic and vegetation biodiversity of these Islands as related to their geology and bioclimatology and emphasizes that the Islands constitute natural laboratories for studies on their flora, vegetation, plant evolution and ecology.
Chapters on geography, climate and bioclimate provide the physical framework for characterizing the plant communities, according to a world bioclimatic classification, and relate them in their corresponding bioclimatic belts within the Mediterranean macrobioclimate. The biogeography chapter covers the plant colonization of the archipelago in a variable geological and paleo-climatic framework, since the first emergence of the archipelago and its surroundings. The possible vectors of colonization and the main sources of the flora are pointed out. The Canarian-Madeiran Subregion of the Mediterranean Region is characterized in terms of its geographic, bioclimatic, floristic and vegetation features. Its plant biodiversity and endemism are highlighted.
The book’s main focus is on the vegetation of the Islands: a general description of the main potential communities along an altitudinal transect is followed by descriptions of the current vegetation units. Details are given on the most representative endemic potential natural communities and illustrated by photographs, diagrams and illustrative maps of the potential natural vegetation of each Island.
The book also assesses anthropogenic effects on the natural landscape, the role of invasive plants and the expected impact of climate change on flora and vegetation. The conservation status of the flora and vegetation of the Islands is evaluated.
Four appendixes, including a syntaxonomical scheme, a brief history of botanical studies and explorations, ethnobotanical notes and a selected listing of literature complete the book.