Palms (Arecaceae) are an important element of tropical vegetation across the world and serve as a model system in geographical ecology.Eiserhardt et al. review how the abiotic environment, biotic interactions and dispersal influence palm distribution and diversity patterns across spatial scales, and discuss contemporary vs. historical impacts of these factors and the scale at which they function. A key finding is that determinants of palm distributions, composition and richness vary with spatial scale.
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