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Expert-reviewed information about the Earth.  For everyone.

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Recently Updated
Eastern highlands moist deciduous forests Last Updated on 2014-04-16 15:00:40 The Eastern Highlands Moist Deciduous Forests are considered globally outstanding for the large vertebrate assemblages and intact ecological processes they still support. The ecoregion still retains large blocks of habitat that are more than 5,000 (km2). These are essential for the long-term conservation of the megavertebrates of Asia and are now a limited ecological resource. The complex landform coupled with the monsoon rains that sweep in from the Bay of Bengal also make this ecoregion an ice age refuge for elements of the moist forest flora from the faraway Western Ghats mountains and from the Eastern Himalayas. It is also a present-day refuge for many of the bioregion's large vertebrates, such as tigers (Panthera tigris), wolves (Canis lupus), gaur (Bos gaurus), and sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), that are increasingly confined to fragments of the natural habitat that... More »
Christmas and Cocos Islands tropical forests Last Updated on 2014-04-16 14:42:52 Christmas Island and the uninhabited North Keeling Island of the Cocos group both maintain significant native tropical forest cover, composed of dissimilar assemblages of Indo-Pacific and Melanesian tree species. While forests on Christmas Island are similar to those found on other nearby Indonesian high volcanic islands, they are unique in the degree to which their composition and recruitment are controlled by the huge numbers of terrestrial red crabs (Gecarcoidea natalis) present on the island. Despite its small size, Christmas Island supports a large number of endemic species and subspecies including one of the rarest owls in the world, the Christmas Island hawk owl (Ninox natalis). Phosphate mining of extensive bird guano deposits has resulted in the destruction of some of the island’s native habitat; however, the inclusion of 63% of the island in a national park should... More »
Chin Hills-Arakan Yoma montane forests Last Updated on 2014-04-16 14:12:32 The Chin Hills-Arakan Yoma Montane Rain Forests are globally outstanding for bird richness, partly because they acted as a refugia during recent glaciation events. This ecoregion still harbors many taxa characteristic of the Palearctic realm and a diverse assemblage of subtropical species distributed across its elevational gradients. Much of the southern Chin Hills remains biologically unexplored. This ecoregion represents the montane moist forests along the length of the Chin Hills and Arakan Yomas mountain ranges along the west coast of Myanmar. The Köppen climate zone classifies this ecoregion in the tropical wet climate zone.  Below 1,000 meters (m) the vegetation is characterized by several canopy dominants, such as Bauhinia variegata, Lagerstroemia speciosa, Derris robusta, Ficus spp. Hibiscus, and Strobilanthes. Mature forests are richly draped with lianas,... More »
Chao Phraya lowland moist deciduous forests Last Updated on 2014-04-15 19:47:18 The Chao Phraya Lowland Moist Deciduous Forests have had intense anthropogenic influence over time. A majority of the forests that remain are degraded, and most of the larger wildlife no longer is found in these forests. However, these forests still abut intact forests to the west along the Tenasserim mountains and, if allowed to regenerate, might support viable populations of Asian elephants and tigers in the future. This ecoregion is not a homogeneous unit but contains forest patches having affinities with other ecoregions. Forest on the west of the Chao Phraya, in the drainage of the Khwae River system, grades into Tenasserim-South Thailand Semi-Evergreen Rain Forests in wetter areas and Central Indochina Dry Forests in the more seasonal or drier areas. As in most of northern and western Thailand, the gibbon present is the wide-ranging Hylobates lar. The area to the east... More »
Chao Phraya freshwater swamp forests Last Updated on 2014-04-15 19:23:11 Like most lowland habitats on alluvial floodplains elsewhere in Asia, the area has been severely altered. Almost none of the original vegetation remains. Descriptions of the flora and fauna must be inferred from similar habitats in surrounding countries. Because this is one of the most densely populated regions of Asia, supporting one of its larger cities, Bangkok (estimated population 8 million), there is little hope that any extensive protected areas can be set up or that any significant original vegetation remains. Nonetheless, the area retains important conservation attributes. Appropriate land-use planning may enable the area to retain some of them. This ecoregion consists of the freshwater swamp forests in the lowland alluvial plains of the Chao Phraya River in central Thailand and extends north up the valleys of its major tributaries, the River Ping and River Nan. It is... More »