Part of the East African Rift Valley, the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot (EABH) is a hyper-diverse region with a complex history of processes shaping species richness. The mountains of the EABH are different from other tropical mountain formations, as they do not form a continuous chain, and are often described as “sky islands”.
In this study, researchers explore the origins of fern and lycophyte diversity of the sky islands of east Africa. Using a combination of traditional floras, journal articles and online resources including GBIF they identify 485 taxa in the region, a number that is only surpassed by Madagascar. The authors note that GBIF data alone reliably describes the species richness for some countries, but not all.
The study finds evidence for a distinct flora in the EABH region dominated by species preferably occurring in humid climates, while also prodividing framework for future studies on conservation, ecology and evolution.