The Neotropic ecozone
is South America
's terrestrial ecoregion
. It has distinct fauna and flora from the Nearctic
because of long separation from the northern continent.
This term has usually been used for South and Central America, the Mexican lowlands and the Caribbean, since these regions share a large number of groups.
It is sometimes used as a synonym for the tropical area of South America.
The Neotropic ecozone includes the Amazon Rainforest and so is one of the most important reserves of biodiversity on Earth. Extensive deforestation in the late 20th century has reduced this diversity to a degree.
This zone also includes the last Stone Age humans to have evaded contact with the rest of human modern civilization. Accordingly, conservation in the Neotropic zone is a hot political concern, and many arguments about development versus aboriginal versus ecological rights to exist are raised about it.
The only comparable issues in global ecology are climate change, loss of Central African Rainforests, Indonesian Rainforests, and ape extinction (closely related to the deforestation).
31 bird families are endemic- over twice the number of any other region. They include rheass, tinamous, currasows, toucans.
Animal families originally unique to the Neotropic include:
Plant species originally unique to the Neotropic include
- the Neotropic is probably the most diverse zone on Earth - it should contain a survey of current issues and ecological overview)External link
Map of the ecozones
Nearctic | Palearctic | Afrotropic | Indomalaya | Australasia | Neotropic | Oceania | Antarctic