|Thailand is richly endowed with flora and fauna, but this natural bounty has come under increasing threat. While nearly half of the country was forested 20 years ago, very high rates of deforestation, caused by logging and the need for agricultural land, have reduced this to about 26 per cent (1993). Many wildlife habitats have disappeared, and a number of species are threatened with extinction. Nearly 14 per cent (1992) of the country is now protected, and since 1989 the government has tried to reforest large areas damaged by floods and mudslides. The country’s fish harvest, which is the third largest in the world, is unsustainable, and stocks of several species are low. In spite of many ichthyological surveys, no recent monographic treatment of the freshwater fishes of Thailand has been published. Also, the conservation status of most fish is not known. The following information is to be sought: - Existence of conservation plans; - Current major threats to species; - Future potential threats to species; - Contact(s) for further information.
|Geography and Climate
Thailand lies within the Indochinese Peninsula, except for the southern extremity, which occupies part of the Malay Peninsula. A series of parallel ranges, with a north-south trend, occupies the northern and western part of the country.The highest elevations occur in the westernmost ranges, which extend along the border with Myanmar and rise to 2,595 meters at the summit of Doi Inthanon, the highest point in Thailand. The peninsular area, which is bordered by narrow coastal plains, reaches a high point of 1,786 meters on top of Khao Luang. Mountain systems run through central Thailand in a north-south direction before extending to the eastern frontier in the south. The region to the north and east of these systems consists largely of a low, barren plateau called the Khorat Plateau. Making up about one-third of the country, the plateau is bordered by the Mekong River valley.
Thailand has a moist tropical climate, influenced primarily by monsoon winds that vary in direction according to the season. From April to October the winds are mainly from the southwest and are moisture-laden; during the rest of the year they blow in from the northeast. While the country is under the influence of the southwest winds, temperatures are higher, ranging from 26° to 37°C. During the rest of the year, the range is from 13° to 33°C. Temperatures are somewhat higher inland than they are along the coast, except at points of high elevation. Annual rainfall is about 1,525 millimeters in the north, west, and central regions, 2,540 millimeters or more on the Thai portion of the Malay Peninsula, and 1,270 millimeters or less on the Khorat Plateau. Most rain falls in summer (June to October).
Ref. Microsoft, 1996
Between the central and western mountains is a vast alluvial plain crossed by the Chao Phraya, the main river of Thailand.
Freshwater sites of exceptional biodiversity interest are the Pa Phru peat swamps with an endemic species, and also Mae Klong.
Ref. Kottelat, M. and T. Whitten, 1996