Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants

Bridging historical and ecological approaches in biogeography

Jorge V. Crisci A , Osvaldo E. Sala B , Liliana Katinas C and Paula Posadas D E

A Laboratorio de Sistemática y Biología Evolutiva, Museo de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque, B1900FWA La Plata, Argentina.

B Center for Environmental Studies, Brown University, Box 1943, Providence, RI 02912, USA.

C División Plantas Vasculares, Museo de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque, B1900FWA La Plata, Argentina.

D Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, Fontana 140, U9100GYO Trelew, Argentina.

E Corresponding author. Email:

F All the authors contributed equally to this manuscript

Australian Systematic Botany 19(1) 1-10
Submitted: 19 March 2005  Accepted: 18 August 2005   Published: 27 February 2006


The practice of biogeography is rooted in disciplines that traditionally have had little intellectual exchange and yielded two complementary biogeographic approaches: ecological and historical biogeography. The aim of this paper is to review alternative biogeographic approaches in the context of spatial analysis. Biogeography can be used to set priorities for conservation of biological diversity, but also to design strategies to control biological invasions and vectors of human diseases, to provide information about the former distribution of species, and to guide development of ecological restoration initiatives, among other applications. But no one of these applications could be fully carried out until an integrative framework on biogeography, which bridges biogeographical historical and ecological paths of thinking, has been developed. Although we do not propose a new biogeographic method, we highlight the causes and consequences of the lack of a conceptual framework integrating ecology and history in biogeography, and how this required framework would allow biogeography to be fully utilised in fields such as conservation.


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