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Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variation in living organisms, viewed within a given habitat, ecosystem or in the world as a whole. The concept is usually applied to the species diversity, although the notion of genetic biodiversity is applied to the variation in genes within an individual species. While most people think of rainforests as loci of great biodiversity, biomes such as oceans and grasslands are the likely repositories for even greater variation. Retention of diverse biota is important, since intact ecosystems are thought to be essential for provision of ecosystem services to humans, including maintenance of a diverse foodbank, pollination, clean water, flood control, pest control, waste decomposition, biomass energy resources and climate stability. Biodiversity is presently critical since we live in the era of the Mass Holocene Extinction, a period of species loss caused by man, and unrivaled in rate of species loss. Although the number of total species numbers in the tens of millions, most have not yet even been described. The extinction of a species is almost always related to destruction of habitat or man-made pollution.

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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 »
Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests Last Updated on 2014-04-15 18:41:54   The Brahmaputra Valley Semi-Evergreen Rain Forests historically were some of the most productive areas in the Indian Subcontinent bioregion. The ecoregion lies along the alluvial plains of the Brahmaputra River. This river flows through Assam and West Bengal before its confluence with the Ganges River. The Ganges River then flows south to the Bay of Bengal. Because of the ecoregion's high productivity, the valley has been densely settled by humans and cultivated for thousands of years. Human settlement has been the primary cause for its widespread loss of habitat and natural biodiversity. Yet despite the long history of habitat loss and degradation, the ecoregion still harbors an impressive biological diversity in the small fragments of habitat that lie scattered throughout. For instance, some of India's remaining viable populations of Asian elephants (Elephas... More »
Borneo peat swamp forests Last Updated on 2014-04-15 17:45:53 Although the Borneo peat swamp forests are not as biodiverse as neighbouring lowland rainforests, the Borneo Peat Swamp Forests are some of the most speciose peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia. Peat swamp forests are a key habitat for the unique endangered Borneo endemic proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus). They are also home to the world's most desirable aquarium fish, the arowana (Scleropages formosus). This ecoregion is made up of the peat swamp forests along the western coasts of the island of Borneo, within the Malaysian state of Sarawak and Indonesian Kalimantan. Most of the peat swamp forests are associated with coastal areas, but two large areas of peat swamp forests occur around Lake Mahakam and Lake Kapuas. Based on the Köppen climate zone system, this ecoregion falls in the tropical wet climate zone. The peat swamp forests of Borneo have vegetative and... More »
Borneo montane rainforests Last Updated on 2014-04-15 17:23:27 The Borneo montane rainforests can be likened to montane islands in a sea of lowland dipterocarp forests. This isolation has produced a unique and diverse set of montane species. Of Borneo's endemic bird species, twenty-three (73 percent) are montane. There are more than 150 mammal species in montane forests, making this ecoregion globally outstanding for mammal richness, and it is the most speciose montane rain forest found in the Indo-Pacific region. Despite this wealth of diversity, large tracts of Borneo's montane forests have not been explored to catalog the flora and fauna. This ecoregion represents the montane forests in the central region of the island of Borneo and falls within the boundaries of all three nations with territory in Borneo: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Montane forests are much cooler and moister than lowland forests. For every 1000 meters (m)... More »