Editors' Choice Paper of the second quarter of 2023

28 November 2023

A synthetic overview of the terrestrial vegetation of South America, authored by the team of Dr Gonzalo Navarro-Sánchez (Universidad Católica Boliviana “San Pablo”, Bolivia), Federico Luebert (Universidad de Chile, Chile), and José Antonio Molina (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain) became the Editors’ Choice Paper for the second quarter of 2023.

Published as a “Review and Synthesis”, the article, titled “South American terrestrial biomes as geocomplexes: a geobotanical landscape approach”, is part of the ongoing Special Collection “Neotropical Vegetation”, launched by the IAVS regional section “Latin America and the Caribbean” in the Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) journal. 

In their study, the researchers use the concept of “geocomplex biomes”, of which they distinguish 33 on the continent. These are grouped into 16macrobiomes” within the four macroclimates: “tropical”, “mediterranean”, “temperate” and “boreal”. Then, each of the “geocomplex biomes” is visualised by one or several drawings that illustrate typical sequences of vegetation types along landscape gradients (catenas). The figures provide a realistic picture of the landscapes and their driving forces. 

The descriptions of the ‘geocomplex biomes’ are very dense in information, based on extensive field studies of the authors throughout the continent and a comprehensive literature review, " commented the VCS’ Editors-in-Chief. 

This contribution is prototypic for what we envisage under “Review and Synthesis” articles. They are like textbooks or textbook chapters, as authoritative as these, but more concise. Compared to normal research articles, they can be longer, as in this case,” they added.

“We hope that this paper will contribute to a better understanding of the diverse vegetation of South America and - at the same time - inspire other author teams to consider VCS as an outlet for comparable synthetic treatments.”

Image caption: Example of an illustration of one “geocomplex biome” (Montane evergreen and seasonal Andean forest geocomplex) from the Editors’ Choice article by Navarro et al. 2023.

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