Ángela Cano (Cambridge University Botanical Garden, United Kingdom) & Fred Stauffer (Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques Geneve – Switzerland) 
Since the last World Palm Symposium held in Colombia in 2015, major palm groups throughout all subfamilies have been taxonomically revised, and important progress has been made in the reconstruction of phylogenetic relationships within the family. This section seeks to gather the authors of those interesting works with the aim of including the presentation of recently revised clades, genera and species complexes, regional treatments (e.g. field guides), and the latest advances on palm phylogenetics. The latter, with the advent of Next Generation Sequencing methods, have accelerated our understanding of phylogenetic relationships at different taxonomic scales, and allowed fine resolution at the species level. Thanks to the studies implementing those methods, palm scientists are getting closer to a complete species phylogeny of palms.

Cintia Freitas (UFPR, Brazil) & Wolf Eiserhardt (Aahrus University, Denmark)
The union of classical biogeography theory and hypotheses with modern phylogenetic techniques has reinvigorated large-scale studies of biodiversity. Currently, this union also facilitates the synthesis of ecology and evolution to further contribute to determining the origin and maintenance of plant diversity across the globe. Beyond that, the field of macroecology has contributed to understanding large-scale patterns of colonization, species distribution, ecological associations and the formation of the main extant biomes. Arecaceae is one of the best-known plant families in terms of phylogenetic relationships and distribution, and therefore, highly suitable for studying the processes that shaped the biodiversity we see today. Here we will provide a general overview of the state of knowledge, methodologies, and future directions within the field of biogeography, macroecology, and evolution of palms as a means to understand the processes underpinning plant diversity overall.

Thaise Emilio (Unicamp, Brazil) & Sidonie Bellot (RBGKew)
The study of functional traits as a mean to gain a more mechanistic understanding of plant ecology and evolution has exponentially increase last years. Morphological and eco-physiological traits have been re-interpreted in the light of the importance they may have on plant fitness as a way to understand plant speciation, radiation, distribution and environmental adaptation. The palm family (Arecaceae) is one of the lineages better served in terms of phylogenetic, morphological and distribution data. In this section we aim to provide an overview on the current efforts, applications and perspectives on the field of functional ecology and evolution of the palm family. 

Rita Portela (UFRJ, Brazil) & Caroline Dracxler (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Ecological studies focus on the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on the distribution and abundance of organisms, allowing the integration as well as the disentanglement of mechanisms underlying structural patterns at community- and population-level. Palms are an excellent study model in ecology because they play a key functional and structural role on ecosystems mainly due to their overall high abundances and the resource provisioning for a wide assemblage of animals, which in turn play important ecosystem services. Here we intend to provide an overview of the knowledge on palm ecology by illustrating fieldwork-based research that advances our understanding on ecological processes and patterns and highlights different aspects that make palms an important element of tropical and subtropical ecosystems.

Monica Moraes (Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia) & Co-chair: Evandro José Linhares Ferreira (INPA, Brasil)
Palms are very important for human subsistence and generate incomes for their well-being. Based on ethnobotanical work and ethnoecological surveys, case studies at the international level are illustrated. The utility and conservation include current patterns in traditional knowledge of peoples and the construction of new ecosystems. Conservation status assessment is considered as a tool to protect uses and reduce threats as well as ex situ conservation efforts in botanical gardens.

Carlos Colombo (IAC, Brazil)
The richness and phenotypic variation within palm family show a great potential for different applications. Most palm species are currently exploited locally for human livelihood and some species have a strong international economic prominence. The degree of economic exploitation is generally associated with our  knowledge about their economic potential and degree of domestication. In this session we will focus on studies that integrate basic and applied biology of palms of economic importance, including: new initiatives for the economic use of palm trees, basic ecological basis for improving commercial exploitation, the role of genomics in unraveling genes and/or characteristics of applied interest and, finally, suggesting ways to increase the degree of domestication of palm species aiming at a more competitive market economy.