Biodiversity refers to the variety of life. It is seen in the number of species in an ecosystem, and is used as a measure of the health of biological systems.
Myanmar’s wildlife include a mix of species from north, south and southeast Asia, which find shelter in a wide range of habitats throughout the country. Snow-capped and remote Himalayan Mountains crown the north, and serve as the headwaters for some of Myanmar’s major rivers. The rivers flow through wide, central plains and down to mangrove-lined river deltas before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Along the country’s southern tail, the coastal waters abound with coral reefs amidst more than 800 islands of the Mergui archipelago.
A wide diversity of ecosystems is represented in Myanmar, including mixed wet evergreen, dry evergreen, deciduous, and montane forests. There are also patches of shrublands and woodlands on karst limestone outcrops and, in some coastal areas, scattered heath forests. In addition, a wide variety of distinctive, localized vegetation formations occur, including lowland floodplain swamps, mangroves, and seasonally inundated grasslands.
Specifically, Myanmar hosts 15 biodiversity corridors. These play a key role in maintaining landscape connectivity between key biodiversity areas, thus preserving ecological processes and safeguarding against the potential impacts of climate change.
Myanmar supports one of the most diverse, yet imperiled chelonian faunas in Southeast Asia. At least 27 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises are known to occur in Myanmar, including eight endemic forms. Despite such high levels of diversity turtle populations face severe threats from rampant commercial and subsistence harvesting, and habitat destruction.
Myanmar has 49 Globally Threatened mammal species as well as 16 Near-Threatened and 26 Data Deficient mammal species. Of these Rhinoceros have almost become extinct in the wild and other species like Asian elephants, Tigers, and Snub-Nosed Monkeys are severely threatened with extinction.
There are over 100 fish species listed as vulnerable many of them are species of sharks. Most species of shark are threatened by intensive fishing pressure for fins and meat. Heavy harvest using disruptive techniques such as electrocute and dynamite fishing are at the root of sharp declines in fisheries populations across Myanmar waters.There are 47 Globally Threatened bird species in Myanmar with seven listed as Critically Endangered. There is a suite of rare but widespread species reliant on undisturbed forested streams, however increasing deforestation and habitat degradation is posing their future at a stake.
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