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Laurel forest, also called laurisilva or laurissilva, is a type of subtropical forest found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable, mild temperatures. The forest is characterized by broadleaf tree species with evergreen, glossy and elongated leaves, known as "laurophyll" or "lauroid". Plants from the laurel family (Lauraceae) may or may not be present, depending on the location.

Contents

1 Setting 2 Characteristics 3 Origin 4 Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions

4.1 East Asia

4.1.1 Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions in East Asia

4.2 Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines

4.2.1 Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions of Sundaland, Wallacea, and the Philippines

4.3 Macaronesia
Macaronesia
and the Mediterranean Basin 4.4 Nepal 4.5 Southern India 4.6 Sri Lanka 4.7 Africa 4.8 USA Southeast States 4.9 USA Ancient California 4.10 Central America

4.10.1 Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions in Mexico
Mexico
and Central America

4.11 Tropical Andes 4.12 Southeastern South America 4.13 Central Chile 4.14 Australia, New Caledonia
New Caledonia
and New Zealand

4.14.1 New Guinea

4.14.1.1 Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions of New Guinea

5 References 6 External links

Setting[edit]

Laurel forest
Laurel forest
in Madeira

Laurel forests are specific to wet forests from sea level to the highest mountains, but are poorly represented in areas with a pronounced dry season.[citation needed] They need an ecosystem of high humidity, such as cloud forests,[citation needed] with abundant rainfall throughout the year. Laurel forests typically occur on the slopes of tropical or subtropical mountains, where the moisture from the ocean condenses so that it falls as rain or fog and soils have high moisture levels.[1] Some evergreen tree species will survive short frosts, but most species will not survive hard freezes and prolonged cool weather. They need a mild climate with annual temperature oscillation moderated by the proximity of the ocean. These conditions of temperature and moisture occur in four different geographical regions:

Along the eastern margin of continents at latitudes of 25° to 35°. Along the western continental coasts between 35° and 50° latitude. On islands between 25° and 35° or 40° latitude. In humid montane regions of the tropics.[2][3][4]

Some laurel forests are a type of cloud forest. Cloud forests are found on mountain slopes where the dense moisture from the sea or ocean is precipitated as warm moist air masses blowing off the ocean are forced upwards by the terrain, which cools the air mass to the dew point. The moisture in the air condenses as rain or fog, creating a habitat characterized by cool, moist conditions in the air and soil. The resulting climate is wet and mild, with the annual oscillation of the temperature moderated by the proximity of the ocean. Characteristics[edit] Laurel forests are characterized by evergreen and hardwood trees, reaching up to 40 metres (130 ft) in height. Laurel forest, laurisilva, and laurissilva all refer to plant communities that resemble the laurel bay. Some species belong to the true laurel family or Lauraceae, but many have similar foliage to the Lauraceae
Lauraceae
due to convergent evolution. As in any other rainforest, plants of the laurel forests must adapt to high rainfall and humidity. The trees adapted in response to these ecological drivers by developing analogous structures, leaves that repel water. Laurophyll or lauroid leaves are characterized by a generous layer of wax, making them glossy in appearance, and a narrow, pointed oval shape with an apical mucro or "drip tip", which permits the leaves to shed water despite the humidity, allowing perspiration and respiration. The scientific names laurina, laurifolia, laurophylla, lauriformis, and lauroides are often used to name species of other plant families that resemble the Lauraceae.[5] The term Lucidophyll, referring to the shiny surface of the leaves, was proposed in 1969 by Tatuo Kira.[6] The scientific names Daphnidium, Daphniphyllum, Daphnopsis, Daphnandra, Daphne[7] from Greek: Δάφνη, meaning "laurel", laural, Laureliopsis, laureola, laurelin, Laurelindorinan, laurifolia, Cistus laurifolius
Cistus laurifolius
(Laurel Rockrose), laurifolius, lauriformis, laurina, laurophylla, laurocerasus, laurus, Prunus laurocerasus
Prunus laurocerasus
(English laurel), Prunus lusitanica ( Portugal
Portugal
laurel), Corynocarpus laevigatus
Corynocarpus laevigatus
(New Zealand Laurel), and Corynocarpus rupestris
Corynocarpus rupestris
designate species of other plant families that resemble Lauraceae.[5] The term "lauroid" is also applied to climbing plants such as ivies whose leaves resemble those of the Lauraceae. Mature laurel forests typically have a dense tree canopy and low light levels at the forest floor.[6] Some forests are characterized by an overstory of emergent trees. Laurel forests are typically multi-species, and diverse in both the number of species and the genera and families represented.[6] In the absence of strong environmental selective pressure, the number of species sharing the arboreal stratum is high, although not reaching the value of tropical forests; nearly 100 tree species have been described in the laurisilva rainforest of Misiones
Misiones
(Argentina), about 20 in the Canary Islands. This species diversity contrasts with other temperate forest types, which typically have a canopy dominated by one or a few species. Species
Species
diversity generally increases towards the tropics.[8] In this sense, the laurel forest is a transitional type between temperate forests and tropical rainforests. Origin[edit] Laurel forests are composed of vascular plants that evolved millions of years ago. Lauroid
Lauroid
floras have included forests of Podocarpaceae and southern beech. This type of vegetation characterized parts of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana
Gondwana
and once covered much of the tropics. Some lauroid species that are found outside laurel forests are relicts of vegetation that covered much of the mainland of Australia, Europe, South America, Antarctica, Africa, and North America when their climate was warmer and more humid. Cloud forests are believed to have retreated and advanced during successive geological eras, and their species adapted to warm and wet conditions were replaced by more cold-tolerant or drought-tolerant sclerophyll plant communities. Many of the late Cretaceous – early Tertiary Gondwanan species of flora became extinct, but some survived as relict species in the milder, moister climate of coastal areas and on islands.[9] Thus Tasmania
Tasmania
and New Caledonia
New Caledonia
share related species extinct on the Australian mainland, and the same case occurs on the Macaronesia
Macaronesia
islands of the Atlantic and on the Taiwan, Hainan, Jeju, Shikoku, Kyūshū, and Ryūkyū Islands
Ryūkyū Islands
of the Pacific. Although some remnants of archaic flora, including species and genera extinct in the rest of the world, have persisted as endemic in such coastal mountain and shelter sites, their biodiversity was reduced. Isolation in these fragmented habitats, particularly on islands, has led to the development of vicariant species and genera. Thus, fossils dating from before the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
glaciations show that species of Laurus
Laurus
were formerly distributed more widely around the Mediterranean and North Africa. Isolation gave rise to Laurus
Laurus
azorica in the Azores Islands, Laurus
Laurus
nobilis on the mainland, and Laurus
Laurus
novocanariensis in the Canary Islands. Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions[edit] Laurel forests occur in small areas where their particular climatic requirements prevail, in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Inner laurel forest ecoregions, a related and distinct community of vascular plants, evolved millions of years ago on the supercontinent of Gondwana, and species of this community are now found in several separate areas of the Southern Hemisphere, including southern South America, southernmost Africa, New Zealand, Australia
Australia
and New Caledonia. Most Laurel forest
Laurel forest
species are evergreen, and occur in tropical, subtropical, and mild temperate regions and cloud forests of the northern and southern hemispheres, in particular the Macaronesian islands, southern Japan, Madagascar, New Caledonia, Tasmania, and central Chile, but they are pantropical, and for example in Africa they are endemic in the Congo region, Cameroon, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, in lowland forest and Afromontane
Afromontane
areas. Since laurel forests are archaic populations that diversified as a result of isolation on islands and tropical mountains, their presence is a key to dating climatic history. East Asia[edit] Laurel forests are common in subtropical eastern Asia, and form the climax vegetation in far southern Japan, Taiwan, southern China, the mountains of Indochina, and the eastern Himalayas. In southern China, laurel forest once extended throughout the Yangtze Valley and Sichuan Basin from the East China Sea
East China Sea
to the Tibetan Plateau. The northernmost laurel forests in East Asia
Asia
occur at 39° N. on the Pacific coast of Japan. Altitudinally, the forests range from sea-level up to 1000 metres in warm-temperate Japan, and up to 3000 metres elevation in the subtropical mountains of Asia.[8] Some forests are dominated by Lauraceae, while in others evergreen laurophyll trees of the beech family (Fagaceae) are predominant, including ring-cupped oaks (Quercus subgenus Cyclobalanopsis), chinquapin (Castanopsis) and tanoak (Lithocarpus).[6] Other characteristic plants include Schima
Schima
and Camellia, which are members of the tea family (Theaceae), as well as magnolias, bamboo, and rhododendrons.[10] These subtropical forests lie between the temperate deciduous and conifer forests to the north and the subtropical/tropical monsoon forests of Indochina
Indochina
and India
India
to the south. Associations of Lauraceous species are common in broadleaved forests; for example, Litsea
Litsea
spp., Litsea
Litsea
cupola, Persea
Persea
odoratissima, Persea duthiei, etc., along with such others as Engelhardtia spicata, Rhododendron
Rhododendron
arboreum, Lyonia ovalifolia, Pyrus pashia, Rhus spp., Acer oblongum, Myrica
Myrica
esculenta, Michelia kisopa, and Betula alnoides. Some other common trees and large shrub species of subtropical forests are Semecarpus anacardium, Cretaeava unilocularis, Trewia nudiflora, Premna interrupta, Ulmus lancifolia, Ulmus chumlia, Glochidium velutinum, Callicarpa arborea, Toona ciliata, Ficus spp., Mahosama similicifolia, Trevesia palmate, Xylosma longifolium, Boehmeria rugulosa, Scheffera venulosa, Michelia spp., Casearia graveilens, Rhus wallichii, Actinodaphne reticulata, Sapimum insegne, Alnus nepalensis, Ardisia thyrsiflora, Ilex
Ilex
spp, Macaranga pustulata, Trichilia cannoroides, Celtis tetranda, Wenlendia puberula, Saurauia nepalensis, Ligustrum confusum, Quercus
Quercus
glauca, Zizyphus incurva, Camellia
Camellia
kissi, Hymenodictyon flaccidum, Maytenus thomsonii, Zanthoxylum armatum, Rhus succednea, Eurya acuminata, Myrsine semiserrata, Slonea tomentosa, Hydrangea asper, Symplocus spp., Cleyrea spp. and Quercus
Quercus
lamellose. In the temperate zone, the cloud forest between 2,000 and 3,000 m altitude supports broadleaved evergreen forest dominated by plants such as Quercus
Quercus
lamillosa and Q. semicarpifolia in pure or mixed stands. Species
Species
such as Lindera and Litsea, Tsuga dumosa, and Rhododendron
Rhododendron
spp. are also present in the upper levels of this zone. Other important species are Magnolia
Magnolia
campbellii, Michelia doltsopa, Pieris ovalifolia, Daphnephyllum himalayanse, Acer campbellii, Acer pectinatum, and Sorbus cuspidata, but these species do not extend toward the west beyond central Nepal. Alnus nepalensis, a pioneer tree species, grows gregariously and forms pure patches of forests on newly exposed slopes, in gullies, beside rivers, and in other moist places. The common forest types of this zone include Rhododendron
Rhododendron
arboreum, Rhododendron
Rhododendron
barbatum, Lyonia spp., Pieris formosa; Tsuga dumosa forest with such deciduous species as Acer and Magnolia; deciduous mixed broadleaved forest of Acer campbellii, Acer pectinatum, Sorbus cuspidata, and Magnolia
Magnolia
campbellii; mixed broadleaved forest of Rhododendron
Rhododendron
arboreum, Acer campbellii, Symplocos ramosissima and Lauraceae. This zone is habitat for many other important tree and large shrub species such as Abies pindrow, Betula utilis, Buxus rugulosa, Benthamidia capitata, Corylus ferox, Deutzia staminea, Euonymus tingens, Abies spectalbilis, Acanthopanax cissifolius, Acer campbellii, Acer pectinatum, Betula alnoides, Coriaria terminalis, Fraxinus macrantha, Dodecadenia grandiflora, Eurya cerasifolia, Hydrangea heteromala, Ilex
Ilex
dipyrena, Ligustrum spp., Litsea
Litsea
elongata, Juglans regia, Lichelia doltsopa, Myrsine capitallata, Neolitsea umbrosa, Philadelphus tomentosus, Osmanthus fragrans, Prunus cornuta, Rhododendron
Rhododendron
companulatum, Sorbus cuspidate, and Viburnum continifolium. In ancient times, laurel forests (shoyojurin) were the predominant vegetation type in the Taiheiyo evergreen forests ecoregion of Japan, which encompasses the mild temperate climate region of southeastern Japan's Pacific coast. There were three main types of evergreen broadleaf forests, in which Castanopsis, Machilus, or Quercus predominated. Most of these forests were logged or cleared for cultivation and replanted with faster-growing conifers, like pine or hinoki, and only a few pockets remain.[11] Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions in East Asia[edit]

Changjiang Plain evergreen forests (China) Chin Hills-Arakan Yoma montane rain forests (Myanmar) Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests
Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests
(Bhutan, India, Nepal) Guizhou Plateau broadleaf and mixed forests
Guizhou Plateau broadleaf and mixed forests
(China) Nihonkai evergreen forests (Japan) Northern Annamites rain forests (Laos, Vietnam) Northern Indochina
Indochina
subtropical forests (China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam) Northern Triangle subtropical forests (Myanmar) South China- Vietnam
Vietnam
subtropical evergreen forests (China, Vietnam) Southern Korea evergreen forests (South Korea) Taiheiyo evergreen forests (Japan) Taiwan
Taiwan
subtropical evergreen forests (Taiwan)

Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines[edit] Laurel forests occupy the humid tropical highlands of the Malay Peninsula, Greater Sunda Islands, and Philippines
Philippines
above 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) elevation. The flora of these forests is similar to that of the warm-temperate and subtropical laurel forests of East Asia, including oaks (Quercus), tanoak (Lithocarpus), chinquapin (Castanopsis), Lauraceae, Theaceae, and Clethraceae. Epiphytes, including orchids, ferns, moss, lichen, and liverworts, are more abundant than in either temperate laurel forests or the adjacent lowland tropical rain forests. Myrtaceae
Myrtaceae
are common at lower elevations, and conifers and rhododendrons at higher elevations. These forests are distinct in species composition from the lowland tropical forests, which are dominated by Dipterocarps and other tropical species.[12] Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions of Sundaland, Wallacea, and the Philippines[edit]

Borneo montane rain forests Eastern Java-Bali montane rain forests Luzon montane rain forests Mindanao montane rain forests Peninsular Malaysian montane rain forests Sulawesi montane rain forests Sumatran montane rain forests Western Java montane rain forests

Macaronesia
Macaronesia
and the Mediterranean Basin[edit] ‹ The template below (Infobox World Heritage Site) is being considered for merging. See templates for discussion to help reach a consensus. ›

Laurel forest

Old roads and passages between villages and other places in Madeira Island surrounded by prehistoric forest.

UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site

Official name Laurisilva of Madeira

Location Island of Madeira Portugal

Coordinates 32°46′1″N 17°0′0″W / 32.76694°N 17.00000°W / 32.76694; -17.00000

Criteria Natural: ix, x

Reference 934

Inscription 1999 (23rd Session)

[edit on Wikidata]

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Laurel forests are found in the islands of Macaronesia
Macaronesia
in the eastern Atlantic, in particular the Azores, Madeira
Madeira
Islands, and Canary Islands from 400 to 1200 metres elevation. Trees of the genera Apollonias
Apollonias
(Lauraceae), Ocotea
Ocotea
(Lauraceae), Persea
Persea
(Lauraceae), Clethra
Clethra
(Clethraceae), Dracaena (Ruscaceae), and Picconia
Picconia
(Oleaceae) are characteristic.[13] The Madeira
Madeira
Islands laurel forest was designated a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
by UNESCO
UNESCO
in 1999. The paleobotanical record of Madeira
Madeira
reveals that laurissilva forests has existed in this island for at least 1.8 million years.[14]. Millions of years ago, laurel forests were widespread around the Mediterranean Basin. The drying of the region since the Pliocene
Pliocene
and cooling during the Ice Ages
Ice Ages
caused these rainforests to retreat. Some relict Mediterranean laurel forest species, such as sweet bay (Laurus nobilis) and European holly ( Ilex
Ilex
aquifolium), are fairly widespread around the Mediterranean basin. In the Mediterranean there are other areas with species adapted to the same habitat, but which do not form a laurel forest. The most important is the ivy, a climber or vine that is well represented in most of Europe, where it spread again after the glaciations. The "loro" (Prunus lusitanica) is the only tree that survives as a relict in some Iberian riversides, especially in the western part of the peninsula, particularly the Extremadura, and to a small extent in the Northeast. In other cases, the presence of Mediterranean laurel ( Laurus
Laurus
nobilis) provides an indication of the previous existence of laurel forest. This species survives natively in Morocco, Italy, Portugal, Greece, the Mediterranean islands, and some areas of Spain, including the Parque Natural Los Alcornocales
Parque Natural Los Alcornocales
in the province of Cádiz
Cádiz
and in coastal mountains, especially in the Girona Province of Catalonia, which keeps the best "lauredales", and isolated in the Valencia area. Cortegada Island
Cortegada Island
in Galicia is famous for its vast forest of laurels, but this forest is not indigenous to the island, but originated in plantings after the native vegetation had been destroyed. The myrtle spread through North Africa. Tree Heath
Tree Heath
(Erica arborea) grows in southern Iberia, but without reaching the dimensions observed in the temperate evergreen forest or North Africa. The subspecies Rhododendron
Rhododendron
ponticum baeticum and/or Rhamnus frangula baetica still persist in humid microclimates, such as stream valleys, in Spain's Baetic Cordillera, in the Portuguese mountains of Monchique, and the Rif Mountains
Rif Mountains
of Morocco.[15][verification needed] Although the Atlantic laurisilva is more abundant in the Macaronesian archipelagos, where the weather has fluctuated little since the Tertiary, there are small representations and some species contribution to the oceanic and Mediterranean ecoregions of Europe, Asia minor
Asia minor
and west and north of Africa, where microclimates in the coastal mountain ranges form inland "islands" favorable to the persistence of laurel forests. In some cases these were genuine islands in the Tertiary, and in some cases simply areas that remained ice-free. When the Strait of Gibraltar
Strait of Gibraltar
reclosed, the species repopulated toward the Iberian Peninsula to the north and were distributed along with other African species, but the seasonally drier and colder climate, prevented them reaching their previous extent. In Atlantic Europe, subtropical vegetation is interspersed with taxa from Europe and North African in bioclimatic enclaves such as Monchique, Sintra, and the coastal mountains from Cadiz
Cadiz
to Algeciras. In the Mediterranean region, remnant laurel forest is present in some islands of the Aegean Sea, on the Black Sea
Black Sea
coast of Iran and Turkey, including the laurifolia castanopsis and true laurus forests, associated with Prunus laurocerasus, and conifers such as Taxus baccata, Cedrus atlantica, and Abies pinsapo. In Europe the laurel forest has been badly damaged by timber harvesting, by fire (both accidental and deliberate to open fields for crops), by the introduction of exotic animal and plant species that have displaced the original cover, and by replacement with arable fields, exotic timber plantations, cattle pastures, and golf courses and tourist facilities. Most of the biota is in serious danger of extinction. The laurel forest flora are usually strong and vigorous, so the forest regenerates easily; its decline is due to external forces. Nepal[edit] In the Himalayas, in Nepal, subtropical forest consists of species such as Schima
Schima
wallichii, Castanopsis
Castanopsis
indica, and Castanopsis tribuloides in relatively humid areas. Some common forest types in this region include Castanopsis
Castanopsis
tribuloides mixed with Schima wallichi, Rhododendron
Rhododendron
spp., Lyonia ovalifolia, Eurya acuminata, and Quercus
Quercus
glauca; Castanopsis-Laurales forest with Symplocas spp.; Alnus nepalensis forests; Schima
Schima
wallichii- Castanopsis
Castanopsis
indica hygrophile forest; Schima-Pinus forest; Pinus roxburghii forests with Phyllanthus emblica. Semicarpus anacardium, Rhododendron
Rhododendron
arboreum and Lyoma ovalifolia; Schima-Lagestromea parviflora forest, Quercus
Quercus
lamellosa forest with Quercus
Quercus
lenata and ' Quercus
Quercus
glauca; Castanopsis
Castanopsis
forests with Castanopsis
Castanopsis
hystrix and Lauraceae. Southern India[edit] Main article: South Western Ghats montane rain forests Laurel forests are also prevalent in the montane rain forests of the South Western Ghats in southern India. Sri Lanka[edit] Laurel forest
Laurel forest
occurs in the montane rain forest of Sri Lanka.[citation needed] Africa[edit] Main article: Afromontane The Afromontane
Afromontane
laurel forests describe the plant and animal species common to the mountains of Africa
Africa
and the southern Arabian Peninsula. The afromontane regions of Africa
Africa
are discontinuous, separated from each other by lowlands, resembling a series of islands in distribution. Patches of forest with Afromontane
Afromontane
floristic affinities occur all along the mountain chains. Afromontane
Afromontane
communities occur above 1,500–2,000 metres (4,900–6,600 ft) elevation near the equator, and as low as 300 metres (980 ft) elevation in the Knysna-Amatole montane forests
Knysna-Amatole montane forests
of South Africa. Afromontane
Afromontane
forests are cool and humid. Rainfall is generally greater than 700 millimetres per year (28 in/year), and can exceed 2,000 millimetres (79 in) in some regions, occurring throughout the year or during winter or summer, depending on the region. Temperatures can be extreme at some of the higher altitudes, where snowfalls may occasionally occur. In Subsaharan Africa, laurel forests are found in the Cameroon Highlands forests along the border of Nigeria
Nigeria
and Cameroon, along the East African Highlands, a long chain of mountains extending from the Ethiopian Highlands
Ethiopian Highlands
around the African Great Lakes
African Great Lakes
to South Africa, in the Highlands of Madagascar, and in the montane zone of the São Tomé, Príncipe, and Annobón moist lowland forests. These scattered highland laurophyll forests of Africa
Africa
are similar to one another in species composition (known as the Afromontane
Afromontane
flora), and distinct from the flora of the surrounding lowlands. The main species of the Afromontane
Afromontane
forests include the broadleaf canopy trees in Beilschmiedia
Beilschmiedia
genus, with Apodytes dimidiata, Ilex mitis, Nuxia congesta, N. floribunda, Kiggelaria africana, Prunus africana, Rapanea melanophloeos, Halleria lucida, Ocotea
Ocotea
bullata, and Xymalos monospora, along with the emergent conifers Podocarpus latifolius and Afrocarpus falcatus. Species
Species
composition of the Subsaharan laurel forests differs from that of Eurasia. Trees of the Laurel family are less prominent, limited to Ocotea
Ocotea
or Beilschmiedia due to exceptional biological and paleoecological interest and the enormous biodiversity mostly but with many endemic species, and the members of the beech family (Fagaceae) are absent.[8] Trees can be up to 30 or 40 metres (98 or 131 ft) tall and distinct strata of emergent trees, canopy trees, and shrub and herb layers are present. Tree species include: Real Yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius), Outeniqua Yellowwood ( Podocarpus
Podocarpus
falcatus), White Witchhazel (Trichocladus ellipticus), Rhus chirendensis, Curtisia dentata, Calodendrum capense, Apodytes dimidiata, Halleria lucida, llex mitis, Kiggelaria africana, Nuxia floribunda, Xymalos monospora, and Ocotea
Ocotea
bullata. Shrubs and climbers are common and include: Common Spikethorn (Maytenus heterophylla), Cat-thorn (Scutia myrtina), Numnum (Carissa bispinosa), Secamone alpinii, Canthium ciliatum, Rhoicissus tridentata, Zanthoxylum capense, and Burchellia bubalina. In the undergrowth grasses, herbs and ferns may be locally common: Basketgrass (Oplismenus hirtellus), Bushman Grass (Stipa dregeana var. elongata), Pigs-ears (Centella asiatica), Cyperus albostriatus, Polypodium polypodioides, Polystichum tuctuosum, Streptocarpus rexii, and Plectranthus spp. Ferns, shrubs and small trees such as Cape Beech (Rapanea melanophloeos) are often abundant along the forest edges. USA Southeast States[edit]

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According to the recent study by Box and Fujiwara (Evergreen Broadleaved Forests of the Southeastern United States: Preliminary Description), laurel forests occur in patches in the southeastern United States from southeast North Carolina
North Carolina
southward to Florida, and west to Texas, mostly along the coast and coastal plain of the Gulf and south Atlantic coast. In the southeastern United States, evergreen Hammock (ecology)
Hammock (ecology)
(i.e. topographically induced forest islands) contain many laurel forests. These laurel forests occur mostly in moist depression and floodplains. In many portions of the coastal plain, a low-lying mosaic topography of white sand, silt, and limestone (mostly in Florida), separate these laurel forests. Frequent fire is also thought to be responsible for the disjointed geography of laurel forests across the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. Despite being located in a humid climate zone, much of the broadleaf Laurel forests in the Southeast USA are semi-sclerophyll in character. The semi-sclerophyll character is due (in part) to the sandy soils and often periodic semi-arid nature of the climate. As one moves south into central Florida, the sclerophyll character slowly declines and more tree species from the tropics (Caribbean) increase as the temperate species decline. As such, the southeastern laurel forests gives way to tropical savanna. There are several different broadleaved evergreen canopy trees in the laurel forests of the southeastern United States. In some areas, the evergreen forests are dominated by species of Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), Laurel Oak ( Quercus
Quercus
hemisphaerica), Southern Magnolia ( Magnolia
Magnolia
grandiflora), Red Bay Persea
Persea
borbonia, Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto), and Sweetbay Magnolia
Magnolia
( Magnolia
Magnolia
virginiana). In several areas on the barrier islands, a stunted Quercus
Quercus
geminata or mixed Quercus
Quercus
geminata and Quercus
Quercus
virginiana forest dominates, with a dense evergreen understory of scrub palm Serenoa repens
Serenoa repens
and a variety of vines, including Bignonia capreolata, as well as Smilax
Smilax
and Vitis species. Gordonia lasianthus, Ilex opaca
Ilex opaca
and Osmanthus americanus
Osmanthus americanus
also may occur as canopy co-dominant in coastal dune forests, with Cliftonia monophylla
Cliftonia monophylla
and Vaccinium arboreum
Vaccinium arboreum
as a dense evergreen understory (Box and Fujiwara 1988). The lower shrub layer of the evergreen forests is often mixed with other evergreen species from the palm family (Rhapidophyllum hystrix), Bush palmetto(Sabal minor), and Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens), and several species in the Ilex
Ilex
family, including Ilex
Ilex
glabra, Dahoon Holly, and Yaupon Holly. In many areas, Cyrilla racemiflora, Lyonia fruticosa, Wax
Wax
Myrtle Myrica
Myrica
is present as an evergreen understory. Several species of Yucca
Yucca
and opuntia are native as well to the drier sandy coastal scrub environment of the region, including Yucca aloifolia, Yucca
Yucca
filamentosa, Yucca
Yucca
gloriosa, and opuntia stricta. USA Ancient California[edit] During the Miocene, oak-laurel forests were found in Central and Southern California. Typical tree species included oaks ancestral to present-day California
California
oaks, as well as an assemblage of trees from the Laurel family, including Nectandra, Ocotea, Persea, and Umbellularia.[16][17] Only one native species from the Laurel family (Lauraceae), Umbellularia
Umbellularia
californica, remains in California
California
today. There are however, several areas in Mediterranean California, as well as isolated areas of southern Oregon that have evergreen forests. Several species of evergreen Quercus
Quercus
forests occur, as well as a mix of evergreen scrub typical of Mediterranean climates. Species
Species
of Notholithocarpus, Arbutus menziesii, and Umbellularia
Umbellularia
californica can be canopy species in several areas. Central America[edit] The laurel forest is the most common Central American temperate evergreen cloud forest type. They are found in mountainous areas of southern Mexico
Mexico
and almost all Central American countries, normally more than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level. Tree species include evergreen oaks, members of the Laurel family, and species of Weinmannia, Drimys, and Magnolia.[18] The cloud forest of Sierra de las Minas, Guatemala, is the largest in Central America. In some areas of southeastern Honduras
Honduras
there are cloud forests, the largest located near the border with Nicaragua. In Nicaragua
Nicaragua
the cloud forests are found in the border zone with Honduras, and most were cleared to grow coffee. There are still some temperate evergreen hills in the north. The only cloud forest in the Pacific coastal zone of Central America is on the Mombacho
Mombacho
volcano in Nicaragua. In Costa Rica
Costa Rica
there are laurisilvas in the "Cordillera de Tilarán" and Volcán Arenal, called Monteverde, also in the Cordillera de Talamanca. Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions in Mexico
Mexico
and Central America[edit]

Central American montane forests Chiapas montane forests Chimalpas montane forests Oaxacan montane forests Talamancan montane forests Veracruz montane forests

Tropical Andes[edit] The Yungas
Yungas
are typically evergreen forests or jungles, and multi-species, which often contain many species of the laurel forest. They occur discontinuously from Venezuela
Venezuela
to northwestern Argentina including in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, usually in the Sub-Andean Sierras. The forest relief is varied and in places where the Andes
Andes
meet the Amazon, it includes steeply sloped areas. Characteristic of this region are deep ravines formed by the rivers, such as that of the Tarma River descending to the San Ramon Valley, or the Urubamba River
Urubamba River
as it passes through Machu Picchu. Many of the Yungas
Yungas
are degraded or are forests in recovery that have not yet reached their climax vegetation. Southeastern South America[edit] The laurel forests of the region are known as the Laurisilva Misionera, after Argentina's Misiones
Misiones
Province. The Araucaria
Araucaria
moist forests occupy a portion of the highlands of southern Brazil, extending into northeastern Argentina. The forest canopy includes species of Lauraceae
Lauraceae
( Ocotea
Ocotea
pretiosa and O. catharinense), Myrtaceae (Campomanesia xanthocarpa), and Leguminosae (Parapiptadenia rigida), with an emergent layer of the conifer Brazilian Araucaria
Araucaria
(Araucaria angustifolia) reaching up to 45 metres (148 ft) in height.[19] The subtropical Serra do Mar coastal forests
Serra do Mar coastal forests
along the southern coast of Brazil
Brazil
have a tree canopy of Lauraceae
Lauraceae
and Myrtaceae, with emergent trees of Leguminaceae, and a rich diversity of bromeliads and trees and shrubs of family Melastomaceae.[20] The inland Alto Paraná Atlantic forests, which occupy portions of the Brazilian Highlands in southern Brazil
Brazil
and adjacent parts of Argentina
Argentina
and Paraguay, are semi-deciduous. Central Chile[edit] Main article: Valdivian temperate rain forests The Valdivian temperate rain forests, or Laurisilva Valdiviana, occupy southern Chile
Chile
and Argentina
Argentina
from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes between 38° and 45° latitude. Rainfall is abundant, from 1,500 to 5,000 millimetres (59–197 in) according to locality, distributed throughout the year, but with some subhumid Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
influence for 3–4 months in summer. The temperatures are sufficiently invariant and mild, with no month falling below 5 °C (41 °F), and the warmest month below 22 °C (72 °F). Australia, New Caledonia
New Caledonia
and New Zealand[edit] Main article: Biodiversity
Biodiversity
of New Caledonia

Distribution of Nothofagus, a plant genus that illustrates Gondwanan distribution, having descended from the supercontinent and persisting in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia
New Caledonia
and Chile; fossils have also recently been found in Antarctica

Laurel forest
Laurel forest
appears on mountains of the coastal strip of New South Wales in Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The laurel forests of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand are home to species related to those in the Valdivian laurel forests, including Southern Beech (Nothofagus, fossils of which have recently been found in Antarctica[21]) through the connection of the Antarctic flora. Other typical flora include Winteraceae, Myrtaceae, Southern Sassafras (Atherospermataceae), conifers of Araucariaceae, Podocarpaceae, and Cupressaceae, and tree ferns.[22] New Caledonia
New Caledonia
was an ancient fragment of the supercontinent Gondwana. Unlike many of the Pacific Islands, which are of relatively recent volcanic origin, New Caledonia
New Caledonia
is part of Zealandia, a fragment of the ancient Gondwana
Gondwana
that separated from Australia
Australia
60–85 million years ago,[23] and the ridge linking New Caledonia
New Caledonia
to New Zealand
New Zealand
has been deeply submerged for millions of years. This isolated New Caledonia from the rest of the world's landmasses, preserving a snapshot of Gondwanan forests. New Caledonia
New Caledonia
and New Zealand
New Zealand
are separated by continental drift of Australia
Australia
85 million years ago. The islands still shelter an extraordinary diversity of endemic plants and animals of Gondwanan origin that have later spread to the southern continents. The laurel forest of Australia, New Caledonia
New Caledonia
(Adenodaphne), and New Zealand have a number of species related to those of the Valdivian laurel forest, through the connection of the Antarctic flora
Antarctic flora
of gymnosperms like the podocarpus and deciduous Nothofagus. Beilschmiedia
Beilschmiedia
tawa is often the dominant canopy species of genus Beilschmiedia
Beilschmiedia
in lowland laurel forests in the North Island
North Island
and the northeast of the South Island, but will also often form the subcanopy in primary forests throughout the country in these areas, with podocarps such as Kahikatea, Matai, Miro and Rimu. Genus Beilschmiedia are trees and shrubs widespread in tropical Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America
South America
as far south as Chile. In the Corynocarpus
Corynocarpus
family, Corynocarpus laevigatus
Corynocarpus laevigatus
is called laurel of New Zealand, while Laurelia novae-zelandiae
Laurelia novae-zelandiae
belongs to the same genus as Laurelia sempervirens. The tree niaouli grows in Australia, New Caledonia, and Papua. New Caledonia
New Caledonia
lies at the northern end of the ancient continent Zealandia, while New Zealand
New Zealand
rises at the plate boundary that bisects it. These land masses are two outposts of the Antarctic flora, including Araucarias and Podocarps. At Curio Bay, fossilized logs can be seen of trees closely related to modern Kauri
Kauri
and Norfolk Pine
Pine
that grew on Zealandia about 180 million years ago during the Jurassic period, before it split from Gondwana.[24] During glacial periods more of Zealandia became a terrestrial rather than a marine environment. Zealandia was originally thought to have no native land mammals, but a recent discovery in 2006 of a fossil mammal jaw from the Miocene
Miocene
in the Otago
Otago
region shows otherwise.[25] The New Guinea
New Guinea
and Northern Australian ecoregions are closely related. Over time Australia
Australia
drifted north and became drier; the humid Antarctic flora
Antarctic flora
from Gondwana
Gondwana
retreated to the east coast and Tasmania, while the rest of Australia
Australia
became dominated by sclerophyll forest and xeric shrubs and grasses. Humans arrived in Australia 50–60,000 years ago, and used fire to reshape the vegetation of the continent; as a result,[citation needed] the Antarctic flora, also known as the Rainforest flora in Australia, retreated to a few isolated areas composing less than 2% of Australia's land area. New Guinea[edit] The eastern end of Malesia, including New Guinea
New Guinea
and the Aru Islands of eastern Indonesia, is linked to Australia
Australia
by a shallow continental shelf, and shares many marsupial mammal and bird taxa with Australia. New Guinea
New Guinea
also has many additional elements of the Antarctic flora, including southern beech (Nothofagus) and Eucalypts. New Guinea
New Guinea
has the highest mountains in Malesia, and vegetation ranges from tropical lowland forest to tundra. The highlands of New Guinea
New Guinea
and New Britain
New Britain
are home to montane laurel forests, from about 1,000 to 2,500 metres (3,300–8,200 ft) elevation. These forests include species typical of both Northern Hemisphere laurel forests, including Lithocarpus, Ilex, and Lauraceae, and Southern Hemisphere
Southern Hemisphere
laurel forests, including Southern Beech Nothofagus, Araucaria, Podocarps, and trees of the Myrtle family (Myrtaceae).[8][26] New Guinea
New Guinea
and Northern Australia
Australia
are closely related. Around 40 million years ago, the Indo-Australian tectonic plate began to split apart from the ancient supercontinent Gondwana. As it collided with the Pacific Plate
Pacific Plate
on its northward journey, the high mountain ranges of central New Guinea
New Guinea
emerged around 5 million years ago.[27] In the lee of this collision zone, the ancient rock formations of what is now Cape York Peninsula
Cape York Peninsula
remained largely undisturbed. Laurel forest
Laurel forest
ecoregions of New Guinea[edit] The WWF identifies several distinct montane laurel forest ecoregions on New Guinea, New Britain, and New Ireland.[28]

Central Range montane rain forests Huon Peninsula montane rain forests New Britain-New Ireland montane rain forests Northern New Guinea
New Guinea
montane rain forests Vogelkop montane rain forests

References[edit]

^ Abstract at NASA – MODIS: Izquierdo, T; de las Heras, P; Marquez, A (2011). Vegetation indices changes in the cloud forest of La Gomera Island (Canary Islands) and their hydrological implications". Hydrological Processes, 25(10), 1531–41: "[R]esults prove the absence of summer drought stress in the laurel forest implying that the fog drip income is high enough to maintain enough soil moisture". ^ Resumen, Aschan, G., María Soledad Jiménez Parrondo, Domingo Morales Méndez, Reiner Lösch (1994), "Aspectos microclimaticos de un bosque de laurisilva en Tenerife / Microclimatic aspects of a Laurel Forest in Tenerife". Vieraea: Folia scientarum biologicarum canariensium, (23), 125–41. Dialnet. (in Spanish). ^ Ashton, Peter S. (2003). "Floristic zonation of tree communities on wet tropical mountains revisited". Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 6: 87–104. doi:10.1078/1433-8319-00044.  ^ Abstract. Plant Ecology. 145 (2): 221–33. doi:10.1023/a:1009856020744.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ a b Otto E. (Otto Emery) Jennings. "Fossil plants from the beds of volcanic ash near Missoula, western Montana" Memoirs of the Carnegie Museum, 8(2), p. 417. ^ a b c d Box, Elgene O.; Chang-Hung Chou; Kazue Fujiwara (1998). "Richness, Climactic Position, and Biogeographic Potential of East Asian Laurophyll Forests, with Particular Reference to Examples from Taiwan" (PDF). Bulletin of the Institute of Environmental Science, Yokohama National University. 24: 61–95. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-26.  ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607 ^ a b c d Tagawa, Hideo (1995). "Distribution of lucidophyll Oak – Laurel forest
Laurel forest
formation in Asia
Asia
and other areas". Tropics. 5 (1/2): 1–40. doi:10.3759/tropics.5.1.  ^ "MBG: DIVERSITY, ENDEMISM, AND EXTINCTION IN THE FLORA AND VEGETATION OF NEW CALEDONIA". mobot.org.  ^ "Jian Nan subtropical evergreen forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved April 8, 2011.  ^ Karan, Pradyumna Prasad (2005). Japan
Japan
in the 21st century: environment, economy, and society. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington. ISBN 978-0-8131-2342-4. p. 25. ^ "Borneo montane rain forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved June 4, 2011.  ^ Madeira
Madeira
Laurel Forest, Madeira
Madeira
Wind Birds 2005 ^ Góis-Marques, Carlos A.; Madeira, José; Menezes de Sequeira, Miguel (7 February 2017). "Inventory and review of the Mio– Pleistocene
Pleistocene
São Jorge flora ( Madeira
Madeira
Island, Portugal): palaeoecological and biogeographical implications". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology: 1–19. doi:10.1080/14772019.2017.1282991.  ^ Interpretation Manual of European Union Habitats (PDF). 2007.  ^ Axelrod, Daniel I. (2000) A Miocene
Miocene
(10-12 Ma) Evergreen
Evergreen
Laurel-Oak Forest from Carmel Valley, California. University of California Publications in Geological Sciences 145; April 2000. 3rd ed. Berkeley: University of California
California
Press. ISBN 978-0-520-09839-8. ^ Michael G. Barbour, Todd Keeler-Wolf, Allan A. Schoenherr (2007). Terrestrial vegetation of California. Berkeley: University of California
California
Press, ISBN 978-1-282-35915-4, p. 56 ^ "Talamancan montane forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 1 June 2011.  ^ " Araucaria
Araucaria
moist forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved June 4, 2011.  ^ "Serra do Mar coastal forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved June 4, 2011.  ^ Li, H.M.; Zhou, Z.K. (2007). "Fossil nothofagaceous leaves from the Eocene of western Antarctica and their bearing on the origin, dispersal and systematics of Nothofagus". Science in China. 50 (10): 1525–1535.  ^ Fujiwara, Kazue and Elgene O. Box (1999). " Evergreen
Evergreen
Broad-Leaved Forests in Japan
Japan
and Eastern North America: Vegetation Shift under Climactic Warming" in Conference on Recent Shifts in Vegetation Boundaries of Deciduous Forests, Frank Klötzl, G.-R. Walther, eds. Basel: Birkhauser, ISBN 978-3-7643-6086-3. ^ Keith Lewis; Scott D. Nodder; Lionel Carter (11 January 2007). "Zealandia: the New Zealand
New Zealand
continent". Te Ara — the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 22 February 2007.  ^ Fossil forest: Features of Curio Bay/Porpoise Bay Archived 2008-10-17 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2007-11-06 ^ Campbell, Hamish; Gerard Hutching (2007). In Search of Ancient New Zealand. North Shore, New Zealand: Penguin Books. pp. 183–184. ISBN 978-0-14-302088-2.  ^ "Central Range montane rain forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved June 4, 2011.  ^ Frith, D.W., Frith, C.B. (1995). Cape York Peninsula: A Natural History. Chatswood: Reed Books Australia. Reprinted with amendments in 2006. ISBN 0-7301-0469-9. ^ Wikramanayake, Eric; Eric Dinerstein; Colby J. Loucks; et al. (2002). Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: a Conservation Assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press. ISBN 978-1-55963-923-1.

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