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Bioclimatic classification of US vegetation along a coast-to-coast macrotransect crossing central United States. I: Mediterranean vegetation

Peinado, Manuel, Aparicio, Alejandro, Aguirre, Juan Luis, Delgadillo, José
Plant biosystems 2019 v.153 no.1 pp. 147-162
ecoregions, edaphic factors, geographic information systems, phytosociology, vegetation, vegetation maps, weather stations, Midwestern United States
This report presents the first of two parts of a bioclimatic classification of the vegetation of the United States. Using a geographical information system, 987 weather stations were located along a longitudinal macrotransect from the shores of the Atlantic to Pacific on four maps: Map of the Physiographic Divisions of the Conterminous US, US Potential Natural Vegetation Map, US Ecoregion Map, and Terrestrial Ecosystems-Isobioclimates Map of the Conterminous United States. Based on these maps, bibliographic resources and field data, we deduced the potential natural vegetation (PNV) of each weather station; then, we assigned the different PNV types to alliance or association levels using the US National Vegetation Classification (USNVC). In a next step, USNVC groups were related with similar level phytosociological syntaxa described in the study area. The bioclimatic distribution of the USNVC units defined was then interpreted using the bioclimatic classification proposed in successive approximations by S. Rivas-Martínez. The distribution of USNVC alliances was mainly linked to the macrobioclimates (Mediterranean, Temperate, and Tropical) of the longitudinal gradient examined, though some edaphic factors induced the appearance of specialized plant groups. Herein, we present our data for the Mediterranean macrobioclimate, in which 53 alliances and 28 isobioclimates were identified.