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Venezuelan dry forests used to be one of the most widely distributed forest formations in the country. The original dry forest area has been reduced significantly by human activity in the last six decades. Current dry forests are located predominantly on the northern half of the country and show a markedly patchy distribution. The Llanos bioregion stands out as the region including the largest area occupied by dry forests.

Other important dry forest areas are found in the foothills of the Andes, the Maracaibo Lake basin, the Lara-Falcon states on the northwest, the Piedmont of the northern Coastal Cordillera, the Island of Margarita, and the northern part of the Bolivar and Amazonas states on the southern side of the Orinoco river. Most dry forests occur in lowland and some hilly areas (0-600 m) with an average annual temperature of 25 °C, rainfall of 700-1800 mm/yr, and a dry season lasting from three to six months. Their total area (28,858 km2) represents 3.2% of the country. The length of the dry season is a determinant factor influencing species diversity and structural complexity in these forests. Dry forest diversity and structural complexity increases in the country from north to south, as the length of the dry season, decreases. Venezuelan dry forests flora is typically composed of about 50-140 species representing 40-50 plant families within an area of approximately 0.1 ha. The most diverse families in terms of number of species are usually Fabaceae s.l., Capparaceae, Bignoniaceae, Sapindaceae, Rubiaceae, Malpighiaceae, Euphorbiaceae, and Flacourtiaceae s.l. In contrast, among the families relatively poor in species,  Zygophyllaceae stands out as a very distinctive floristic element. The Venezuelan dry forest shows greater floristic affinities with the dry forests of Colombia and Central America than with those of the Caribbean islands.