Bioclimate-Vegetation Interrelations along the Pacific Rim of North America


This study was designed to examine relationships between climate and vegetation of the Pacific rim of North America, from the Mediterranean deserts of California to Alaska’s boreal taiga. Relations were inferred from temperature and rainfall data recorded at 457 weather stations and by sampling the vegetation around these stations. Climate data were used to construct climatograms, calculate forty one variables and detect main latitudinal and longitudinal gradients. In order to identify the best functions able to relate our variables, polynomial and non-polynomial regressions were performed. The k-means algorithm was the clustering method used to validate the variables that could best support our bioclimatic classification. The variable that best fitted our classification was finally used to prepare a discriminatory key for bioclimates. Across this extensive area three macrobioclimates were identified, Mediterranean, Temperate and Bo- real, within which we were able to distinguish nine bioclimates. Finally, we relate the different types of potential natural vegetation to each of these bioclimates and describe their floristic composition and physiognomy.

Share and Cite:

M. Peinado, G. Díaz, J. Delgadillo, F. Ocaña-Peinado, M. Macías, J. Aguirre and A. Aparicio, "Bioclimate-Vegetation Interrelations along the Pacific Rim of North America," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 10, 2012, pp. 1430-1450. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2012.310173.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] L. Brouillet and R. D. Whetstone, “Climate and Physiography,” In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, Eds., Flora of North America: North of Mexico, Oxford University Press, New York, 1993, pp. 15-46.
[2] M. G. Barbour and W. D. Billings, “North American Terrestrial Vegetation,” 2nd Edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000.
[3] M. Peinado, J. L. Aguirre, J. Delgadillo and M. A. Macías, “Zonobiomes, Zonoecotones and Azonal Vegetation along the Pacific Coast of North America,” Plant Ecology, Vol. 191, No. 2, 2007, pp. 221-252. doi:10.1007/s11258-006-9239-8
[4] M. Peinado, M. A. Macías, F. M. Oca?a-Peinado, J. L. Aguirre and J. Delgadillo, “Bioclimates and Vegetation along the Pacific Basin of Northwestern Mexico,” Plant Ecology, Vol. 212, No. 2, pp. 263-281. doi:10.1007/s11258-010-9820-z
[5] S. Rivas-Martínez, “Syntaxonomical Synopsis of the North America Natural Potential Vegetation Communities, I,” Itinera Geobotanica, Vol. 10, 1997, pp. 5-148.
[6] S. Rivas-Martínez, D. Sánchez-Mata and M. Costa, “North American Boreal and Western Temperate Forest Vegetation,” Itinera Geobotanica, Vol. 12, 1999, pp. 5-316.
[7] H. Walter, “Vegetation of the Earth and Ecological Systems of the Geobiosphere,” 3rd Edition, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1985.
[8] S. Rivas-Martínez, S. Rivas-Sáenz and A. P. Merino, “Worldwide Bioclimatic Classification System,” Global Geobotany, Vol. 1, 2011, pp. 1-638.
[9] C. Ricotta, M. L. Carranza, G. Avena and C. Blasi, “Are Potential Vegetation Maps a Meaningful Alternative to Neutral Landscape Models?” Applied Vegetation Science, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2002, pp. 271-275. doi:10.1111/j.1654-109X.2002.tb00557.x
[10] M. Peinado, J. L. Aguirre and M. de la Cruz M, “A Phytosociological Survey of the Boreal Forest (Vaccinio-Piceetea) in North America,” Plant Ecology, Vol. 129, No. 1, 1998, pp. 29-47. doi:10.1023/A:1009711818203
[11] L. R. Dice, “The Biotic Provinces of North America,” University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1943.
[12] M. Peinado, J. L. Aguirre, J. Delgadillo and M. A. Macías, “A Phytosociological and Phytogeographical Survey of the Coastal Vegetation of Western North America. Part I: Plant Communities of Baja California, Mexico,” Plant Ecology, Vol. 196, No. 1, 2008, pp. 27-60. doi:10.1007/s11258-007-9334-5
[13] M. Peinado, M. A. Macías, J. L. Aguirre and J. Delgadillo, “Fitogeografía de la Costa del Pacífico de Norteamérica,” Anales Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Vol. 66, No. 2, 2009, pp. 151-194.
[14] T. R. Karl and C. R. Williams, “An Approach to Adjusting Climatological Time Series for Discontinuous Inhomogeneities,” Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology, Vol. 26, No. 12, 1987, pp. 1744-1763. doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1987)026<1744:AATACT>2.0.CO;2
[15] NOAA, “US Monthly Climate Normals 1971-2000,” US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Center, Asheville, 2002.
[16] Ncdia, “National Climate Data and Information Archive,” 2003.
[17] L. R. Holdridge, “Ecología Basada en Zonas de Vida,” Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura, San José de Costa Rica, 1982.
[18] S. L. Dingman, “Physical Hydrology,” 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 2002.
[19] H. Ellenberg and D. Mueller-Dombois, “Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology,” John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1974.
[20] USDA, “The PLANTS Database,” June 2012.
[21] A. W. F. Edwards and R. A. Fisher, “Statistical Methods for Research Workers,” In: I. Grattan-Guinness, Ed., Landmark Writings in Western Mathematics: Case Studies, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 1640-1940. doi:10.1016/B978-044450871-3/50148-0
[22] Z. Michalewicz and D. B. Fogel, “How to Solve It: Modern Heuristics,” Springer Verlag, Berlin, 2000.
[23] J. Hair, R. Anderson, R. Tatham and W. Black, “Multivariate Data Analysis with Readings,” Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1999.
[24] W. R. Erickson and D. V. Meidinger, “Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) Plant Communities in British Columbia: A Guide to Identification,” Technical Report 040, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Victoria, 2007.
[25] J. F. Franklin and C. Dyrness, “Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington,” 2nd Edition, Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, 1988.
[26] D. R. Thysell and A. B. Carey, “Quercus garryana Communities in the Puget Sound, Washington,” Northwest Science, Vol. 75, 2001, pp. 219-235.
[27] M. Peinado, F. Alcaraz, J. L. Aguirre and J. álvarez, “Vegetation Formations and Associations of the Zonobiomes along the North American Pacific Coast,” Vegetatio, Vol. 114, 1995, pp. 123-135.
[28] M. Peinado, F. Alcaraz, J. L. Aguirre and J. Delgadillo, “Major Plant Communities of Warm North American Deserts,” Journal of Vegetation Science, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1994, pp. 79-94. doi:10.2307/3236259
[29] D. I. Griffin, “Oak Forest,” In: M. G. Barbour and J. Major, Eds., Terrestrial Vegetation of California, 2nd Edition, California Native Plant Society, Davis, 1988, pp. 383-416.
[30] J. Delgadillo, “Introducción al Conocimiento Bioclimático, Fitogeográfico y Fitosociológico del Suroeste de Norteamérica Estados Unidos y México,” Ph.D. Thesis, Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 1995.
[31] R. H. Whittaker, “Vegetation of the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon and California,” Ecological Monographs, Vol. 30, 1960, pp. 279-338.
[32] R. H. Waring and J. F. Franklin, “Evergreen Coniferous Forests of the Pacific Northwest,” Science, Vol. 204, No. 4400, 1979, pp. 1380-1386. doi:10.1126/science.204.4400.1380
[33] J. Pojar and A. MacKinnon, “Plants of Coastal British Columbia,” Lone Pine Publishers, Vancouver, 1994.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.