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Indo-Burma Hotspot

Encompassing more than 2 million sq km, the Indo-Burma hotspot begins in eastern Bangladesh and spreads across northeastern India, parts of southern China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. A wide variety of ecosystems from forests, woodlands, shrublands, swamps, mangroves and grasslands are represented in this hotspot.

The region has an estimated 13,500 plant, 1,266 bird, 433 mammal, 522 reptile, 286 amphibian and 1,262 freshwater fish species. The region is home to one of the world's smallest mammals, the Kitti's hog-nosed bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai). In the last few years, several new mammal species like the grey-shanked douc (Pygathrix cinerea), saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), leaf deer (Muntiacus putaoensis), large-antlered muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis), Annamite muntjac (M. truongsonensis) and Annamite striped rabbit (Nesolagus timminsi) have been discovered.

The white-eared night heron (Gorsachius magnificus), Edwards's pheasant (Lophura edwardsi), orange-necked partridge (Arborophila davidi) and grey-crowned crocias (Crocias langbianis) are some of the endangered birds in the region. The Indo-Burma region also has some of the world's largest freshwater fishes and the highest diversity of freshwater turtles in the world. Another notable reptile includes the endemic Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis).

In many countries, large areas of forest land have been cleared to grow teak, rubber, oil palm, coffee, tea, vegetable and cereal crops and sugarcane. Other important causes of habitat loss include logging, mining for gems and ore, firewood collection and charcoal production. Aquatic ecosystems are threatened by dams, shrimp farming and over fishing.

The official protected area in this region is 235,758 sq km or roughly 10% of the area. Organisations actively involved in conservation initiatives in the Indo-Burma region include the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme and non-governmental organisations like the World Wide Fund for Nature, Wildlife Conservation Society, Flora and Fauna International, TRAFFIC, Conservation International and WildAid.

[The information has been sourced from the Conservation International website on biodiversity hotspots ( Accessed in February 2008.]

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