Introduction

    The Indo-Myanmar (Indo-Burma) Hotspot comprises mostor all of Cambodia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic(PDR), Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, Parts of north-eastern India and south-eastern Bangladesh, a small fraction of peninsular Malaysia, and parts of tropical southern china (van Dijk et al. 2004). The wide variation in land form, climate, and latitude within the hotspot has led to the development of diverse natural habitats, which support a high diversity of plant and animal species, including many endemics(van Dijk et al. 2004).

       The Union of Myanmar(hereafter Myanmar) supports some of the most intact natural habitats and species communities remaining in the Indo-Myanmar (Indo-Burma) Hotspot, including many globally threatened species that are found in few or no other places in the world. However, largely because of the sanctions imposed by some foreign governments, current levels of conservations investment in Myanmar are insufficient to ensure the conservation of globally important elements of biodiversity. This major investment gap urgently needs to be filled.

 

BIOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Geography, climate and history

     Myanmar is situated in the north-west of the Indochinese peninsula, and is bordered to the west by the People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Republic of India, to the north-east by the People's Republic of China, and to the east by Lao PDR and the Kingdom of Thailand(Figure).. Myanmar is the largest country in mainland South-East Asia, with a land area of 676,533 km2 and a coastline of 2,832 km.

     Myanmar exhibits extraordinary topographical diversity. The country spans an elevational range of nearly 6,000 m, from the summit of Hkakaborazi, South-East Asia's highest mountain, at 5,881 m asl, to the shores of the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Between these two extremes, the country encompasses several mountain ranges, extensive lowland plains, and one of Asia's largest river deltas. The country also includes all or part of five major rivers:the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy), Thanlwin(Salween), Chindwin, Sittaung and Mekong.

    The major mountain ranges in the country comprise: the Eastern Himalayas, which dominate the topography of the far north of the country; the Chin Hills, which extend south from the international border with India; the Rakhine Yoma Range, which extends south from the international border with Bangladesh, between the Ayeyarway River and the Bay of Bengal; the Bago Yoma Range, which lies between the Ayeyarwady and Thanlwin Rivers; and the Tanintharyi Range, which runs along the international border with Thailand in the south of the country. The topography of the north-east of the country is dominated by the Shan Plateau, which averages around 1,000 m asl. The Ayeyarwady Plains dominate the topography of the centre of the country.

    Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate. During the rainy season (May to September), most parts of the country experience a wet, humid climate, dominated by the south-west monsoon. During the dry season(October to April), drier conditions prevail throughout much of the country, under the influence of the north-east monsoon. This general pattern disguises extreme variation in climate within the country, with mean annual rainfall ranging from under 500 mm in the centre of the country up to a high of 6,000 mm in Tanintharyi Division and northern Rakhine State.

   The Ayeyarwady floodplain, sheltered from south-west and north-east monsoons by a horseshoe of mountain ranges, has an extremely dry and seasonal climate, which has given rise to specialized vegetation types, including thorn scrub and deciduous dipterocarp forest. These dry scrub and forest landscapes have been isolated from similar landscapes in South-East Asia and the Indian Sub-continent for significant periods of geological history. As a result, the area, termed the Central Dry Zone, supports a number of endemic species. This area has also experienced extensive and prolonged anthropogenic modification. Other centers of endemism in Myanmar included the mountain ranges in the north and south of the country. However, the montane forest habitats of these mountains have not been isolated from similar habitats in the main Himalayan chain for as long as those of certain other mountain ranges in mainland South-East Asia, such as the Annamite Mountains, Perhaps as a result, these mountain ranges appear to support only moderate levels of vertebrate endemism. Several fresh water systems in the country, such as Inle Lake, have also been isolated for significant periods of geological history.

 

Habitats and ecosystems

The major ecosystems in Myanmar can be grouped into forest, freshwater, coastal and marine, In the early 2000s, Myanmar had a forest cover of about 429,000 km2 (equivalent to 66% of the country's land area), placing it among the countries with the largest remaining forest cover in mainland South-East Asia(Leimgruber et al. 2004). Forest types range from lowland wet evergreen forest in the south of the country, to sub-alpine forest at high elevations in the far north.

One of the most species-rich forest types in the country is lowland wet evergreen forest, which is distributed in areas of high mean annual rainfall and low seasonality, predominantly close the coast. This forest type is characterized by a species-rich tree flora, dominated by members of the Dipterocapaceae. Good accessibility and the availability of high-value timber species have made lowland wet evergreen forests a major focus of commercial logging throughout mainland South-East Asia, and large area have been degraded or cleared. Some of the most extensive intact areas remaining in the region are in Tanintharyi Division (south Myanmar Gurney's Pitta birding spot - wb.), in the south of the country, although these areas are under severe and immediate threat of conversion to oil palm.

Another low land forest type is freshwater swamp forest. This forest type develops in permanently or seasonally inundated lowlands, and, in Myanmar, is distributed in the Ayeyarwady Delta and in the floodplains of the Chindwin and other rivers. Because of its coincidence with areas of high human population and suitability for conversion to agricultural land, freshwater swamp forest has been extensively cleared throughout mainland South-East Asia. Myanmar supports some of largest remaining examples of this highly threatened habitat in the region.

In contrast with the wetter coastal lowland, the lowlands of the Central Dry Zone or MM01 Bagan  support thorn scrub, thorn forest and deciduous dipterocarp forest. Thorn scrub and thorn forest are characterised by low-stature trees, including Terminalia oliveri, Tectona hamiltoniana and Acacia catechu. Invasive species, such as Prosopis juliflora and Euphorbia spp. Are widespread, particularly im more open areas. Deciduous dipterocarp forest, known locally as indaing forest, is domiated by Dipterocarpus tuberculatus and characterized by a low, open canopy, a grassy understorey and low tree species richness. In the surrounding hill requion and around the periphery of the Central Dry Zone, the dominant lowland forest type is mixed deciduous forest. As this forest type is characterized by the presence of Teak tectona grandis, it is of high economic importance, and has been the focus of commercial logging operations. At higher elevations around the Central Dry Zone, moist semi-evergreen forest is distributed. An analysis of forest cover change in Myanmar between 1990 and 2000 has revealed the northern edge of the Central Dry Zone and adjacent hill forests to be a deforestation hotspot, with at least 7% of the forest cover being lost over this period (Leimgruber et al.2004) It is presumed that fuelwood extraction and agricultural expansion were the main causes of this habitat loss.

At elevation above 900 m asl, evergreen forest types are the most widespread natural habitats, with hill evergreen forest up to around 1,800 m asl and montane evergreen forest above this elevation. Montance evergreen forest is characterised by the presence of members of the Fagaceae, Lauraceae and Magnoliaceae, together with members of the Ericaceae, such as Rhodedendron spp. At high elevations in the north of the country, montane oak forest and coniferous forest are found, while the highest elevations support sub-alpine forest and alpine meadows, with some peaks having a permanent covering of snow and ice. In Myanmar, hill and montane evergreen forest types are generally less threatened than lowland forest types.

Myanmar supports a diversity of freshwater ecosystems, from fast-flowing mountain streams to wide, slow-flowing lowland rivers, as well as lakes and other non-flowing wetlands, Forest streams and rivers in the upper catchment of the country's rivers may support high levels of endemism. However, the freshwater biodiversity of these ecosystems, as with most other freshwater ecosystems in the country, remains largely unknow. Large, slow-flowing, lowland rivers support a number of important wildlife habitats, including deep pools, sandbanks, sandbars, and braided, fast-flowing sections with emergent vegetation. Other important habitats are associated with lowland rivers, including ox-box lakes and alluvial grasslands. Such habitats have been extensively lost throughout the rest of mainland South-East Asia. Other freshwater ecosystems included large, freshwater lakes, such as Indawgyi Lake and MM04 Inle Lake  As elsewhere in the region, freshwater ecosystems in Myanmar support the livehihoods of significant proportion of the human population. As a result, they are frequently subjected to high levels of human use, often with negative implications for biodiversity.

Myanmar supports some of the most extensive and least disturbed coastal ecosystems in mainland South-East Asia. However, these ecosystems have not escaped the threats that have resulted in their extensive degradation and loss in other part of the region, including conversion to aquaculture and fuelwood collection. Mangrove is one of the most widespread habitats in coastal regions, particularly near estuaries. Some of the most extensive areas of mangrove are in the coastal zones of Rakhine State and Tanintharyi Division. The Ayeyarwady Delta south of Yangon, also supports significant areas of mangrove, although rates of net forest loss there are the highest in the country, with over 20% of forest cover being loast over the period 1990-20000 (Leimgruber et al. 2004). Other coastal habitats include intertidal mud and sand flats, which are very important for migratory waterbirds, as well as sand dunes and beach forest.

 

Species diversity and endemism

       Because of the very wide variation in latitude, altitude and climate within the country. Myanmar supports a high diversity of habitats, and is extremely rich im plant species. The country is located at the convergence of 4 major floristic regions: the Indian, Malesian(Sundaic), Sino-Himalayan and Indochinese.

        Northern Myanmar, in particular, is one fo the floristically richest and most diverse areas in mainland Asia. As long ago as the 1940s, (Kingdon-Ward 1944-5). The plant diversity of the country as a whole is even higher : a recent revision of the checklist of gymnosperms and angiosperms in Myanmar contains 11,800 species in 273 families and 2,371 genera (Kress et al. 2003). When fern and non-vascular plant are added, the total plant diversity of the country is higher still.

        The available information on species diversity and endemism indicates that Myanmar supports extraordinary plant and vertebrate diversity, plus levels of endemism comparable to other countries in the Indo-Myanmar (Indo-Burma) Hotspot. However, detailed baseline data are still lacking for many taxonomic groups, and new species for science are still being regularly discovered in the country. These included Leaf Deer Muntiacus putaoensis, a species of muntjac discovered in the Northern Mountains Forest Complex in 1997 (Amato et al. 1999), which is believed to be the smallest species of deer in the world. In addition, a new species of bat, Kachin Woolly BatKerivoula kachinesis, was recently described from collections made by the Harrison Institute and Yangon University (Bates et al. 2004). Regarding reptiles and amphibians, 14 new species have been described from collections made by the Myanmar Herpetological Survey, comprising: 2 species of frog, Chirixalus punctatus (Wiklkinson et al. 2003) and Bufo crocus (Wogan et al. 2003): 2 species of snake, Lycodon zawi (Slowinski et al. 2001) and Naja mandalayensis (Slowinski and Wuster 2oo); and 10 species of lizard,Calotes chincollium (Vindum et al. 2003) and Cyrtodactylus spp. Zbauer 2002, 2003). Furthermore, recent studies have discovered many new species of freshwater fish, including Danio kyathit (Fang 1998), Botai kubotai (Kottelat 2004) and Batasio elongatus (Ng 2004). The continued discovery of new species and new records for the country, are likely to further increase levels of known species diversity and endemism in Myanmar.

       Myanmar supports at least 251 mammal species (Groombridge and Jenkins 1994), although a number of these species have not been confirmed to occur in recent years. 7 mammal species are thought to be endemic to Myanmar (Groombridge and Jenkins 1994, Bates et al. 2004), including Anthony's PipistrellePitistrellus anthonyi and Joffre's PipistrelleP. joffrei. Several other mammal species have very restricted global ranges that include parts of neighboring countries. These include Kitti's Hog-nosed BatCraseonycteris thonglongyai, one of the smallest mamal species in the world, which is known only from southern Myanmar and a small area of western Thailand, and the recently described Leaf Deer, which is only known from northern Myanmar and north-eastern India. (This's one bat easy to see in western of Thailand, a cave in Kanchanaburi province Please contact wild bird eco tour).

      Myanmar supports at least 1,150 bird species (last update 2014), a greater diversity than any other country im mainland South-East Asia (Duckworth et al. 1999, Wells 1999, Robson 2000, Round 2000). Despite its high species richness, Myanmar's avifauna contains only four national endemics : Hooded Treepie Crypsirina cucullata, White-browned Nuthatch Sitta victoriae, White-throated Babbler Turdoides gularis, Burmese Bushlark Mirafra microptera (Alstrom 1998, Stattersfield et al. 1998)

    White-browned Nuthatch is restricted to the southern Chin Hills or MM06 Mt.Victory, while the other 3 endemic species are concentrated on the Central Dry Zone or MM01 Bagan. In addition, Myanmar supports numerous endemic subspecies, several of which may warrant full species status, for example White-belled Minivet Pericrocotus erythropygius albifrons.

    In addition to the 4 nationally endemic bird species. Myanmar supports at least 19 other restricted range bird species (species with a global breeding range of less than 50,000 km2), most of which have distributions that included parts of the countries. These restricted-range species define 3 Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs) and three Secondary Areas (SAs) (Figure 2). EBAs are areas to which the global ranges of at least two restricted-range species are entirely restricted, while SAs are areas that support one or more restricted range species but do not qualify as EBAs.

      The Northern Mountains Forest Complex and Chin Hills of Myanmar comprise part of the Eastern Himalays EBA. At least 14 of the restricted range species found in this EBA occur within Myanmar: Blyth's Tragopan Tragopan blythii; Sclater's Monal Lophophorus sclateri; Ward's Trogon Harpactes wardii; Rusty-belled Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra; Striped Laughingthrush Garrulax virgatus; Brown-capped Laughingthrush G. Austeni; Wedge-billed Wren Babbler Sphenocichla humei; Snowy-throated Babbler Stachyris oglei; Steak-throated Barwing Actinodura waldeni; Grey Sibia Heterophasia gracilis; Beautiful Sibia H. Pulchella; White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri; Broad-billed Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni; and White-browed Nuthatch. In addition, Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator may breed in the country, and Dark-rumped Swift Apus acuticauda may occur as a migrant, although there is no confirmation of breeding. Many of the restricted range species in the Eastern Himalayas EBA are altitudinal migrant, breeding at higher elevations and spending the non-breeding season at lower elevations.

      The Central Dry Zone of Myanmar comprises the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) Plains EBA. Three restricted range species occur in the EBA, all of which are national endemics: Hooded Treepie; White-throated Babbler, and Burmese Bushlark. Part of extreme north-eastern Myanmar are included within the Yunan Mountains range species that define this EBA is currently known to occur in Myanmar: Brown-winged Parrotbill Paradoxornis brunneus. The Table and Cocos island of Myanmar, which lie in the Andaman Sea, are included within the Andaman Islands EBA. Two of the restricted range bird species endemic to the Andaman archipelago occur on these islands: Brown Coucal Centropus andamaneniss and Andaman Drongo Dicrurus andamanensis.

      Myanmar includes all or part of three SAs. The Northern Myanmar Lowlands SA, which contains the upper Chindwin and Mali Hka catchments of northern Myanmar, supports a single restricted range species, Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush Garrulax nuchalis, which also occurs in India. The Myanmar-Thailand Mountains SA, which includes part of east-central Myanmar, plus parts of north-western Thailand, also supports a single restricted range species : Burmese Yuhina Yuhina humilis. Finally, the Peninsular Thailand Lowland Forests SA, which includes part of Tanintharyi Division, Myanmar, plus part of peninsular Thailand, also support a single restricted range species : Gurney's Pitta Pitta gurneyi. (Wild Bird Team survey June 2014, arrangement trip as well)

      Based on the results of the Myanmar Herpetological Survey, conducted by the Forest Department, CAS and the Smithsonian Institution, Myanmar supports at least 361 reptile and amphibian species, comprising 279 species of reptile and 82 species of amphibian.

     These figures do not include 12 new species records for the country that are awaiting publication, and up to 52 possible new species from collections made in the country. Therefore, the total number of reptile and amphibian species known from Myanmar may be as high as 425.! A number of these species are thought to be national endemics, including 7 species of turtle : Burmese Frog-faced Softshell Turtle Chitra vandijki ; Burmese Star Tortoise Geochelone platynota; Arakan Forest Turtle Heosemys depressa; Burmese Roofed Turtle Kachuga trivitatta; Burmese Flapshell Turtle Lissemys scutata; Burmese Eyed Turtle Morenia ocellata; and Burmese Peacock Softshell Nilssonia formosa.

       The freshwater fish fauna of Myanmar is one of the least known in South-East Asia, is estimated to support at least 350 freshwater fish species.

 

Globally threatened species (Red List of Threatened Species IUCN 2004)

Birds

     44 globally threatened bird species have been recorded in Myanmar. A large proportion of these species are characteristic of forest ecosystems, and most major forest types support a suite of globally threatened species. Hill and montane forests are important for a number of globally threatened passerines, including White-browed Nuthatch, Beautiful Nuthatch, Giant Nuthatch as well as several galliforms, such as Hume's Pheasant and Blyth's Trogopan(both Vulnerable). These forests also support important populations of Rufous-necked Hornbill(Vulnerable). Lowland semi-evergreen, mixed deciduous and deciduous dipterocarp forest support important populations of Green Peafowl (Vulnerable), a species that has undergone dramatic declines across much of mainland South-East Asia (BirdLife International 2001). Lowland wet evergreen forests in southern Myanmar support a number of globally threatened bird species, including Gurney's Pitta (Critical Endangered), Storm's Stork(Endangered) and Plain-pouched Hornbill(Vulnerable). For most globally threatened bird species characteristic of forest habitats, habitat lass is the main threat. However, over-exploitation is also a major threat to a number of larger-bodied species, including Hornbills, Galliforms and Pigeons.

    In addition to forest and wetland ecosystems, open country ecosystems are also important for globally threatened bird species, including 2 Critically Endangered vulture species : Slender-billed Vulture and White-backed Vulture. A number of globally threatened bird species recorded in Myanmar historically have not been confirmed to occur in the country in recent years, These include Jerdon's Babbler Chrysomma albirostre (Vulnerable), a species characteristic of tall riverine grassland in Pakistan, Nepal, northern Indian and, at least previously Myanmar, which has not been recorded in the latter country since 1941; and Pink-headed Duck (Critically Endangered), one of the most enigmatic bird species in the world, which previously inhabited secluded wetlands and marshes in the forest and grasslands of northern Myanmar and northern India and of which there have been no confirmed records from Myanmar since 1910 from anywhere in it's range since 1949 (Bird Life International 2001, 2003).

 

Mammals

     39 globally threatened non-marine mamal species have been recorded in Myanmar, of which 2 are endemic : Anthony's Pipistrelle and Joffre's Pipistrelle. Myanmar also supports an endemic subspecies of Eld's Deer (Vulnerable). This subspecies, which is known as Thamin, occurs in the Central Dry Zone. Myanmar also supports a large number of globally threatened species with wide distribution in the Indo-Myanmar Hotspot and elsewhere, including Asian Elephant, Tiger (both Endangered), Gaur Bos gaurus, Clouded Leopard, Asian Golden Cat, Dhole and Asian Black Bear (all Vulnerable). Most of these species are threatened by hunting in Myanmar, as elsewhere.

High mountain in norther Myanmar support a number of mammal species characteristic of the Eastern Himalayas, including Red Panda (endangered), Takin Budorcas taxicolor and Red Goral (both Vulnerable).

A few globally threatened mammal species recorded in Myanmar have not been confirmed to occur in the country in recent years, including Lesser One-horned Rhinoceros Rhinoceros sondaicus and Hairy Rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis (both Critically Endangered).

 

Reptiles

     20 globally threatened non-marine reptile species have been recorded in Myanmar, all of which are turtles. One other non-marine reptile species, Siamese Crocodile, is also listed as occuring in Myanmar in the 2004. although there are no confirmed records of the species from Myanmar, it is likely to occur in areas bordering western Thailand where it is known from TH11 Kaeng Krachan National Park.

 

Amphibians

     None of the amphibian species assessed as globally threatened during the Flobal Amphibian Assessment is known to occur in Myanmar. There are, however, unconfirmed reports of Yunnan Spiny Frog Paa yunnanesis (Endangered), a large-bodied stream frog known from northern Vietnam and south-western China, which is threatened by over-exploitation. The apparent lack of globally threatened amphibian species from Myanmar may reflect low level of survey effort rather than the true conservation status of Myanmar's amphibians.

 

Fish

     There is a need for a comprehensive global threat assessment of fish species, in order to identify global conservation priorities in Myanmar. The fish diversity of Myanmar's non-marine habitats is seriously threatened by destructive fishing practices, dam construction, pollution and invasive species. A number of fish species may be threatened with global extinction, particular among the fauna of MM04 Inle Lake, which sensitive and supports national endemics, Giant Catfish (Critically Endangered) and Asian Arowana (Endangered).

 

Invertebrates

     In the absence of comprehensive global threat assessment of invertebrate taxa in Myanmar, it is difficult to identify taxonomic priorities for global invertebrate conservation in the country. Only a single invertebrate species found in Myanmar has been assessed as globally threatened : Andaman Crow Euploea andamanensis. This butterfly specie is endemic to the Andaman archipelago, and occurs on Myanmar's Table and Cocos island.

 

Plants

     Only 38 plant species recorded in Myanmar have been assessed as globally threatened, comprising 33 species of angiosperm and 5 species of gymnosperm. All the globally threatened angiosperms are trees, and over two thirds are members of the Dipterocarpaceae. The globally threatened gymnosperms comprise the cycad, and the conifers Calocedrus macrolepis, Cephalotaxus mannii, Picea farreri and Taiwania cryptomerioides. The major threats to globally threatened plant species in Myanmar are degradation and loss of forest.

All Tax from : Myanmar investment Opportunities in Biodiversity Conservation, Yangon November 2005

 

Climate.

      Myanmar is located in the tropical monsoon (tropical monsoon) classified into 3 seasons including summer season is during the months of March-April. High temperatures could reach 43 degrees Celsius during the rainy season is from May to October. Southeast monsoon winds bring rain to the country almost daily. Wettest area will eventually include coastal Rakhine State including counties offer good long county Pegu and Tenasserim provinces. Receive rainfall from 120 to 200 inches per year in the plains on the average of 100 inches of rain per year in the central part of the country, which was sheltered by the mountain ranges in the western Rakhine have less rainfall, only 20 -. 40 inches per year. Or an average of approximately 29 inches per year during the winter months from November to February. Temperatures average 21-29 degrees Celsius weather also differ by country height of the area. Namely the high ground is cold even more. And peaks at the top of the country may have snow from November to January. Lowest average temperatures around zero degrees Celsius over the top and maximum of 45 degrees Celsius in the middle of the country.

     Central area of the country is arid climate than others. Upper forests are rich. And rain in the lower coastal areas. The area is located at the fertile lowlands of Burma Irrawaddy Delta and Salween, which is reflected in the importance of rice and tropical fruits.

 

Currency of Myanmar

The local currency is the “ Kyat ” 1 U.S. dollar traded around 6.4650 Kyat.

Language

 

Burmese language is the official language and English 

as a second language in their dealings with foreigners.

 

 

 

 Myanmar Food

     Rice is staple food of Burma or Myanmar , so side dish are curry , soup , fried and vegetabe chili dip. Food tastes salty and fatty foods which ingredient a veriety of vegetable and meat .Burmese consume goat meat ,beef , fish , chicken , pork .While they did not eat seafood because it is expensive.

 National dish of Myanmar

     Lahpet is a national dish of Myanmar. It is served traditionally in a shallow lacquer ware dish called lahpet ohk with a lid and divided into small compartments - pickled tea is laced with sesame oil in a central compartment surrounded, in theirown compartments, by other ingredients namely crisp fried garlic, peas and peanuts, toasted sesame, crushed dried shrimp, preserved shredded ginger and fried shredded coconut.

 

 

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