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Keywords:

  • geographic thought;
  • history of biogeography

Biogeography has been consistently well represented in the Annals throughout the Association of American Geographers' first century. This sample of biogeographic research effectively illustrates the persistent questions explored by the subdiscipline as well as changes in the intellectual perspectives taken on them. Four fundamental issues occupied biogeographers throughout this period (spatial pattern and process, landscape change, human modification of biotic communities, and linking physical and biological systems), but shifting research emphases show clear parallels to the major paradigmatic trends of 20th-century geography, including environmental determinism, regionalism, positivism, and postmodernism. These shifts define a number of fairly distinct periods of research activity: an early (1904–1927) focus on equilibrium environmental control of biotic communities and their dynamics, regional analysis and vegetation mapping (1942–1966), an increasing emphasis on methodological sophistication that prompted emphasis of environmental variability (1967–1987), and a recent (1987–present) reexamination of landscape dynamics with a concern for heterogeneity in space and time.