Ecologists and biogeographers have long been intrigued by the striking similarity of the vegetation and flora of Southern Temperate Zone regions separated by oceans. These scientists have been particularly interested in the occurrence in these regions of Nothofagus - southern beeches. This book, which focuses on the distribution, history, and ecology of the genus Nothofagus, provides a key to understanding the historical plant geography and modern vegetation patterns of the southern hemisphere. The book begins with a discussion of the long-term and broad-scale patterns of origin and differentiation in the genus. Next each major Nothofagus biome is discussed, first in a chapter that considers contemporary ecological patterns and then in a chapter that focuses on the history and paleoecology of the region. Authorities in the field deal with the temperate zone of the southwest Pacific region (New Zealand and Australia); the adjacent tropical zone of the southwest Pacific (New Guinea and New Caledonia); and South America, ranging from the Mediterranean-type climate region of central Chile to the subantarctic latitudes of Tierra del Fuego.