With only about 1% of the world’s land mass, Island Southeast Asia is nevertheless one of the most species‐rich regions on Earth, with, for example, c . 13% of all mammal species. The region’s dynamic geological past ( Holloway & Hall, 1998 ) and relatively stable climatic conditions probably result in many speciation opportunities and relatively few extinction events. Biogeographical theory for the region dates back to the 19th century, when scientists such as Salomon Müller and Philip Lutley Sclater noted the faunal breaks between east and west Indonesia. These breaks were thought to be associated with deep‐water channels that separated the different parts of the Malay Archipelago, resulting in well‐known biogeographical boundaries, such as Wallace’s Line between Sundaland in the west and Sulawesi and other islands in the east. Another faunal break, separating the Indochinese and Sundaic subregions along the Thai/Malay Peninsula, is less well known, but is at least as significant, being an important floristic boundary ( van Steenis, 1950 ) that also separates significantly different avifaunal communities ( Hughes , 2003 ). There are no obvious geographic breaks in this area, and the mechanisms that separated the faunas of Indochina and Sundaland remain unclear. Woodruff
Journal of Biogeography – Wiley
Published: May 1, 2009
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