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Dryad

Data from: High vascular plant species richness in the Usumacinta River Basin: a comprehensive floristic checklist for a natural region in the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot

Citation

Jiménez-López, Derio Antonio et al. (2023), Data from: High vascular plant species richness in the Usumacinta River Basin: a comprehensive floristic checklist for a natural region in the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ttdz08m35

Abstract

Background: Mesoamerica is one of the most important biodiversity hotspots on the planet. Despite significant efforts made over two centuries to contribute to the floristic knowledge of this region, our understanding of its flora is still scattered and uneven.

Questions: What is the magnitude of the vascular plant species richness in the Usumacinta River Basin?

Study site and dates: Usumacinta River Basin (Guatemala and Mexico), 1838–2018.

Methods: We compiled the checklist by systematizing the floristic information acquired from various sources derived from numerous floristic and ecological studies.

Results: We recorded 6,977 species, 1,892 genera, and 274 families. The largest numbers of species (5,746) and records (58,859) correspond to the Mexican portion of the Usumacinta River Basin, compared to its Guatemalan counterpart (4,445 species and 19,952 records). The most species-rich families were Orchidaceae (598 species), Fabaceae (512), and Asteraceae (476). The prevalence of these and all other families with significant contributions to the flora varied among three elevation-defined sectors into which the Usumacinta River Basin was subdivided (lower, middle, and upper basin).

Conclusions: The Usumacinta River Basin is a strategic region for plant biodiversity conservation as it hosts almost one-third of all vascular plant species known for Mesoamerica and ca. 6 % of the entire flora in the Americas. Further botanical exploration should focus on those areas of the basin for which little or no information is available in order to gain a better appreciation of its flora.

Methods

The database contains 78,811 records of vascular plant from localities within the polygon corresponding to the Usumacinta River Basin, which includes territories in both Guatemala and Mexico. The database was compiled by consulting digital collections, herbarium specimens, literature review, and ecological field studies. Please refer to the article published in Botanical Sciences (DOI: 10.17129/botsci.3253) for a detailed description of the taxonomic and geographical treatments performed on the data. Location coordinates (latitude/longitude) of species or groups of species under a risk of extinction status were omitted, following national (Guatemala and Mexico), and international norms (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species).

Funding

Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Award: FORDECyT 273646