Tropical and Subtropical Forests

Before the Chicxulub asteroid killed most of the dinosaurs and caused the extinction of about 45% of all tropical plant species, tropical forests were dominated by ferns and large conifers. Compared to today, pre-Chicxulub tropical forests were less dense, with more light reaching the forest floor. They also contained no legume trees that we know of.

The asteroid created a void which was eventually, after about 10 million years, filled with more broadleaf flowering plants, including legumes.

Today, tropical coniferous forests are relatively rare habitats. Surprisingly, most of them are in Mexico, where the Chicxulub asteroid made impact.

Map by Jordan Engel. As always, the Decolonial Atlas’ original media can be reused under the Decolonial Media License 0.1.

Mónica R. Carvalho et al., 2021
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 2021
BBC, 2021
WWF Global Ecoregions


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