Table 2

Definitions of South American dry biomes

Biome

Annual rainfall (mm/year)

Length of dry season (months)

Dominant plant families

Physiognomy of vegetation

Notes on flora

Soils

Natural fire cycles

Frost


Seasonally dry tropical forests

[45]

< 1,100

5-9

Leguminosae, Bignoniaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Cactaceae, Bromeliaceae

Open to closed canopy forest

Adaptations to drought, scarcity of perennial grasses

Fertile, well drained, shallow soils. pH 6-7

Absent

Absent

Savannas

[40,68,69]

800-2,200

3-5

Leguminosae, Myrtaceae, Vochysiaceae, Poaceae, Cyperaceae

Open to wooded grasslands

Fire adaptations in most plants, dominance of C4 grasses

Poor, Al rich, well drained, deep soils. pH very acid (~5)

Regular

Absent

Chaco

[41,42]

450-1,200

c. 5 (variable)

Leguminosae (esp. Mimosoideae), Anacardiaceae, Cactaceae, Poaceae, Bromeliaceae

Open to closed canopy forest, interspersed with occasional savannas

Frost and salinity tolerant species with temperate affinities

Saline. Sometimes very alkaline in depth (up to pH 8-9)

Occasional

Regular, rarely snow


Comparison of the tropical dry biomes of South America and their definitions. See Werneck et al. [36] for a review on South American dry biomes.

Särkinen et al. BMC Ecology 2011 11:27   doi:10.1186/1472-6785-11-27

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