Introduction

The biogeography of ferns and lycophytes can be studied from several points of view and with various methods. It might, for instance, examine the distribution of species on a single tree (Kromer and Kessler, 2006; Schuettpelz and Trapnell, 2006), or the frequency and abundance of species over large regions (Ruokolainen et al., 1997; Lwanga et al., 1998; Tuomisto et al., 2003; Jones et al., 2005; Tuomisto and Ruokolainen, 2005), or the relationships of species on different continents (e.g., Moran and Smith, 2001; Parris, 2001). Methods can be as varied as producing lists of plants growing on different soil types (e.g., Young and Leon, 1989; van der Werff, 1992), calculating the percentage of floris-tic similarity between different regions (Dzwonko and Kornas, 1978, 1994; Pichi Sermolli, 1979), or analyzing the phylogeny of a clade in relation to its geography and geological history (e.g., Geiger and Ranker, 2005; Hoot et al., 2006). These and other approaches have contributed to what is now an overwhelming amount of literature on the subject. To limit the subject for this chapter, three themes have been chosen: diversity, long-distance dispersal, and vicariance. After discussing these, a summary of the current state of floristics is given because biogeography is ultimately based on that subject.

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