The southern African Miombo and Mopane ecoregions constitute a unique repository of plant diversity whose diversification and evolutionary history is still understudied. In this work, we assessed the diversity, distribution, and conservation status of Miombo and Mopane tree legumes within the Zambezian phytoregion. Data were retrieved from several plant and gene databases and phylogenetic analyses were performed based on genetic barcodes. Seventy-eight species (74 from Miombo and 23 from Mopane, 19 common to both ecoregions) have been scored. Species diversity was high within both ecoregions, but information about the actual conservation status is scarce and available only for ca. 15% of the species. Results of phylogenetic analyses were consistent with current legume classification but did not allow us to draw any conclusion regarding the evolutionary history of Miombo and Mopane tree legumes. Future studies are proposed to dissect the diversity and structure of key species in order to consolidate the network of conservation areas.
- Tree legumes
- Zambezian phytoregion