Phytoclimatic characterization and cartography of subantarctic native forests in Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego (Patagonia, Argentina)

C. Allué, J. A. Arranz, J. O. Bava, J. M. Beneitez, L. Collado, J. M. García-López


Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego is especially peculiar in phytoclimatic terms, situated as it is at an extreme southerly latitude, surrounded by large water masses and close to the great mass of Antarctic ice. Its main peculiarities in this sense are the coolness of its summers and a very narrow temperature range. As a result, the woodland landscapes in the parts with forest cover are dominated by microphyllous broadleaf physiognomies, both evergreen and deciduous, of the Nothofagus genus. This paper reports a more in-depth investigation of the hitherto little-known phytoclimatic conditions in that territory which included calibration and validation of a model of phytoclimatic suitability that addresses the principal plant physiognomic units and phytoclimatic mapping. It discusses the causes behind the presence of broadleaf formations in thermal conditions which in the northern hemisphere would allow only coniferous formations or no tree formations at all, and also the edaphic peculiarities that may explain the presence of a evergreen species like Nothofagus betuloides in subantarctic mixed forests.


Phytoclimatology, convex hull, modelling, Nothofagus, beech, steppe

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2010192-01314