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ASEAN Biodiversity

ASEAN Region: small in size but globally significant

3% of the world’s total land area but home to 18% of known plants and animals.

Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam is known for its high forest cover and diverse ecosystems. Tropical evergreen rain forests make up the country’s native flora. According to the 2010 Global Forest Resource Assessment, old growth forests make up the majority of Brunei’s forest cover, which is estimated to be over 75%. Mangrove forests, beach-type forests, freshwater swamp forests, peat swamp forests, “kerangas” forests, mixed-dipterocarp forests, and montane forests are the seven distinct forest types found in the country. 

Brunei Darussalam’s diverse fauna includes 500 species of marine fish and invertebrates, 121 species of mammals, 474 species of birds, and 182 species of amphibians and reptiles. 

Source: Brunei Darussalam’s Sixth National Report

• Covers 81% of the land
22% are secondary forests and plantations
59% are primary forests

41% designated as forest reserves

15,000 species of vascular plants
2,000 tree species

390 animal species

98 amphibian species
50 reptile species

50 freshwater fish
144 marine fish
400 coral species

Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia, a small but biologically rich country in continental Southeast Asia bounded by the Gulf of Thailand, is known for its  immense forest cover. Low-lying plains make up the majority of Cambodia in the country’s centre, with highlands and rugged terrain in its northern, eastern, and western portions. The Mekong River Basin contains the majority of the country, and it is traversed by the Mekong River and its tributaries, including the Tonle Sap River, which empties into Tonle Sap Lake.

Cambodia is divided into four ecological regions: annamite range moist forests, which is home to 134 species of both endemic and near endemic mammals, 525 bird species and several species of reptiles; cardamom mountains moist forests with over 100 mammals, and 450 bird species; central Indochina dry forests with 167 mammal species and over 500 bird species; and the Mekong freshwater ecoregion endowed with at least 212 mammal species, 240 reptile species, 536 bird species, 850 freshwater fish species, 435 marine fish species and over 2,000 plant species.

7 national parks (7,422 sq. km)
10 wildlife sanctuaries (20,300 sq. km)
3 protected landscapes (97 sq. km)
3 multiple-use areas (4,039 sq. km)
6 protection forests (13,500 sq. km)
8 fish sanctuaries (235 sq. km)

55% unique plant species
31,746 vascular plant species have

63 amphibian species
88 reptile species

874 fish species
70 hard coral species
8 seagrass species

Lao PDR

Located in the middle of the Indo-Chinese Peninsula, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) borders China, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar. Approximately 80% of its 236,800 km2 landmass is mountainous although it has some floodplains along the Mekong River and its tributaries. About one-third of the country has a slope of over 30%, while two-thirds of the rest of the country has slopes between 20-30%. There are five different eco-regions in Lao PDR: Annamite Range Moist Forests, Indochina Dry Forests, Northern Indochina Sub-tropical Moist Forests, Mekong River and its catchment. More than 40% of its landmass is covered by forests.

The faunal biodiversity of Lao PDR consists of 166 species of reptiles and amphibians, 700 birds, 90 bats and over 247 mammals. The Mekong River and its tributaries alone are reported to contain approximately 500 species of indigenous fish. In addition, there are an estimated 8,000 to 11,000 species of flowering plants.

Source: Lao PDR’s Sixth National Report

700 species of birds
90 known species of bats
100 species of large mammals

150 to more than 200 species

500 species of fish

Indonesia

Indonesia is a country made up of approximately 17,000 islands. Despite covering only 1.3% of the Earth’s surface, Indonesia is incredibly rich in biodiversity.

The secret to this incredible biodiversity lies in Indonesia’s unique location. It straddles two major biogeographical realms: Indo-Malaya and Australasia. These regions contribute to the diverse habitats found across the country, from rainforests and mangroves to grasslands and mountains.

21 National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCAs), including special corridors.

 hosts 10% of all flowering plants
8,000 to 11,000 flowering plants
 harbors 12% of the world’s mammals
• Home of 17% of all bird species
44 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) within protected zones

 boasts 16% of the world’s reptiles and amphibians

Malaysia

Malaysia is known for being one of the 12 mega-biodiverse countries in the world and is also located within the Coral Triangle – the centre of marine biodiversity. Malaysia’s landscape comprises mountain ranges, extensive river systems, and associated riparian, floodplain, and catchment forests which support its immense biodiversity of aquatic and terrestrial life.

Malaysia’s mega-biodiverse flora and fauna is comprised of 15,000 species of vascular plants, 306 species of mammals, 742 species of birds, 242 species of amphibians, 567 species of reptiles, over 449 species of freshwater fish, over 1,619 species of marine fish and more than 150,000 species of invertebrates. Some of the iconic species in Malaysia include the Malayan tiger, Malayan tapir, Asian elephant, Orangutan, Sunda pangolin, and Sunda clouded leopard.

Source: Malaysia’s Sixth National Report

• Around 60% of Malaysia’s land area

43.3% of Malaysia’s land area was designated permanent reserved forest
• 2,357 sq. m. of marine areas

15,000 species of vascular plants
8,300 species of vascular plants in Peninsular Malaysia
12,000 species of vascular plants in Sabah and Sarawak.

742 bird species across 85 families (43 species are endemic)
229 mammal species in Peninsular Malaysia
221 mammal in Sabah and Sarawak

242 known amphibian species
567 reptile species

400 marine fish species
• More than 450 recorded species offshore in Sabah and Sarawak alone
290 species of freshwater fish (Peninsular Malaysia)
100 freshwater species (Sabah)
200 freshwater species (Sarawak)

936 species in Sabah and Sarawak.
1,031 species in Peninsular Malaysia.
• Around 1,700 species of beetles are found in Sabah
• Ants have 1,200 recorded ant species and over 200,000 ant specimens

34% of the world's 284,000 square kilometers of coral reefs

Indonesian, Malaysia, and the Philippines are part of the Coral Triangle – home to 75% of the world’s reef-building corals

Myanmar

Located northwest of the Indochina region, Myanmar  is endowed with striking and unusual forests. Plains alongside major rivers and plateaus running parallel to each other contain unique ecosystems supporting numerous organisms. The interaction between the varying climate and geo-physical components of the land accounts for Myanmar’s rich biodiversity – a vital resource for the sustainable development of the nation. 

Myanmar is home to more than 18,000 species including 11,800 species of vascular plants of gymnosperms and angiosperms, 1200 butterfly species, 251 mammals, 1,056 bird species, 282 reptiles, 82 amphibians, 1540 medicinal plants, 96 bamboos, and many crop species, including endemic rice species. The country is also rich with inland water and freshwater diversity, supporting over 350 freshwater fish species, over 800 marine fish species, 9 species of seagrass, 51 coral species, and 5 of the world’s marine turtles are found in Myanmar’s waters.

Sources: ASEAN Biodiversity Outlook 1 and Myanmar’s Sixth National Report

43 protected areas (34 of which represent mountain biodiversity)

11,800 species of vascular plants of gymnosperms and angiosperms
841 medicinal plants
96 bamboo species
37 rattan species

251 mammal species
1,056 bird species

272 reptile species
82 amphibian species

310 freshwater species
465 marine water species

The Philippines

The Philippines, an archipelago located between the Philippine Sea and South China Sea, is identified as one of the world’s 17 most biologically-rich countries. Its terrestrial and marine habitats are characterised by high endemism – nearly half of all its flora and fauna are unique to its 7,641 islands. 

The Philippines ranks fifth in number of plant species, and maintains five per cent of the world’s flora. Species endemism is also high in the country counting at least 25 per cent genera of plants and 49 per cent of terrestrial wildlife. It also ranks fourth in bird endemism. As per fishes, about 121 species of fish found in Philippine waters are endemic. 

Source: Philippines’ Sixth National Report and ABO 1

• Ranks 5th globally in terms of plant species
• Maintains 5% of the world’s flora.
• At least 25 genera are endemic

 
 
• boasts 49% of terrestrial wildlife species
• ranks fourth in bird endemism

3,214 species fish diversity with 121 being endemic (76 of which are threatened)

Singapore

Singapore is an island city-state having one of the densest populations in the world and a largely urban environment. Its lush green cover and warm tropical climate makes the country’s  terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats home to a rich diversity of species due to its location within the Sundaland biodiversity hotspot. 

Majority of Singapore’s natural ecosystems are encompassed by four legally gazetted Nature Reserves and 22 other administratively protected Nature Areas. These include primary and secondary rainforests, freshwater swamp forests, streams, grasslands, sandy and rocky shores, mangrove forests, mudflats, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs. 

Source: Singapore’s Sixth National Report and ABO 1

• Over 3,971 native species of vascular plants

52 mammal species
364 bird species

98 reptile species
28 amphibian species

200 sponge species recorded
256 hard coral species

295 butterfly species

Thailand

Throughout the years, Thailand has retained a number of relatively undisturbed ecosystems which are significant to its biodiversity. The country is a vital genetic pool for plant and animal species that thrive in its various tropical forest ecosystems, and freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems. Additionally, agriculture ecosystems make up one-fifth of the country, and bear certain components of biodiversity, albeit man-made, nonetheless. 

Thailand’s hot and humid climate is home to approximately 8 per cent of the estimated total number of plant species found globally. At least 302 species of mammals are found in Thailand, six of which are endemic, originating from various parts of the country and Asian continent. A vast variety of bird, reptile, and semi-water animals, marine and freshwater fish, and invertebrate species can be found in its biodiverse sanctuaries. 

Source: Thailand’s Sixth National Report and ABO 1

• 15,000 plant species (8% of the global total) 658 fern species, 25 uncovered seeds,
10,000 flowering plants, and 1,140 orchids.
 
 hosts at least 302 mammal species (6 these are endemic species)
982 bird species in Thailand

350 reptile species

137 species inhabit both land and water.
2,820 marine fish species (accounting for 10% of the world’s fish)
720 freshwater fish species.

83,000 species (mostly insects) but only 14,000 have been identified so far.

Viet nam

Viet Nam, a land of diverse landscapes, boasts tropical rainforests, monsoon savannahs, and rugged limestone mountains. These varied habitats create a haven for a wide range of species.

Vietnam is home to one in ten of the world’s mammals, birds, and fish species. Vietnam boasts two World natural heritage sites, four ASEAN natural heritage sites, two Ramsar wetlands sites, six biosphere reserves.

• forest coverage increased by 38.2% in 2006

128 protected areas across the country
• Covers 25,000 sq. km. about 7.6% of the territory
45 interior-protected wetlands

40% are endemic plant species
13,200 floral species

10,000 faunal species

3,000 aquatic creatures inhabit interior wetlands 11,000 sea life forms (including crustaceans and mollusks)