The Landscape and Wildlife of Thailand



The Landscape and Wildlife of Thailand

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Thailand stretches from south of the tropic of Cancer to about 620 miles (1,000 km) north of the equator; its tropical climate is affected by two monsoons. Varied topography and a gentle climate have led to a rich diversity of flora and fauna. limestone hills in the North are clad in dense tropical forest. Open forest is more usual in the Northeast and Central Plains while the South and Gulf have superb coastlines and pockets of rainforest. Many habitats are threatened by industry and tourism; deforestation is rife, and some animal species face extinction. as a result, many national parks have been established. The first, Khao Yai, opened in 1962.

Montane Tropical Forest

This type of forest is made up mostly of broadleaf evergreens and some deciduous trees such as laurel, oak, and chestnut. Mosses, ferns, and epiphytic orchids, growing on other plants, are common.

Open Forest

The most common trees in the open forest, also called savanna forest, are dipterocarps, a family of trees native to Southeast Asia. The ground around them is often carpeted by coarse scrub.

Thai Flowers

The diversity of Thailand’s flowers reflects its range of natural habitats. Most famous of all are its orchids; there are some 1,300 different varieties. Unfortunately, illegal collection has led to their growing rarity in the wild. Other flowers are used as spices and for medicinal purposes.


Freshwater swamp forests have been decimated by farming, though some survive in the South. River basins and man-made lakes and ponds can be found all over Thailand.

Coastal Forest

The seeds of trees such as pines and Indian almond are transported on sea currents; thus ribbons of coastal forest are found all over Southeast Asia. Thailand’s coastal forests are now threatened by farming and tourism.


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