molecular tools have significantly contributed to develop the field of population genetics and the analysis of biogeographic hypothesis. thus, polymorphisms of neutral markers can be used to study the effects of genetic drift and reproductive isolation as a result of historical events and current ecological processes. while, quantitative and ecophysiological traits help to elucidate the action of natural selection promoting adaptive and/or plastic responses. the combination of these tools with field and experimental studies on widespread tree species that have successfully coped with dramatic changes, over space and time provide the opportunity to study these evolutionary processes. charismatic genera with distinct life history traits as embothrium, fitzroya, nothofagus, pilgerodendron, and podocarpus are the focus of study cases seeking to contribute for the understanding of its evolution and conservation under changing scenarios.