Thursday, November 24, 2011

Introduction to the Rainforests of Southeast Asia

The tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia are a part of the earth's oldest existing tropical ecosystems. They span acorss Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. They are also thought to be the most biologically diverse ecosystems as their biological diversity and richness is unparalleled by that of the Brazilian Amazon and African tropical rainforests. Despite this fact, Southeast Asia is losing its forest coverage faster than any other tropical region in the world; it is estimated that 10 years from now, the primary forests of Southeast Asia will be completely destroyed. The climate of the Southeast Asian rainforest is in a constant state of heat and humidity with an average yearly temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The east coast of the Southeast Asian islands gets heavy rain but for the most part, the humidity and climate remains consistent throughout the seasons with the coldest month of the year only reaching temperatures up to 18 degrees Celsius. All seasons are essentially hot and humid, with very little temperature variation. Known for their rich biodiversity, the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia harbor thousands of different tree species (as many as 200 in one hectacre alone). There are also plenty of endangered plant and animal species in the Southeast Asian rainforests including the Bengal Tiger, the Dawn Bat, the Orangutan, the Proboscis Monkey, the Silvery Gibbon, the Slender Loris, and the Sumatran Rhinoceros. Maintaining the ecological well-being of this ecosystem is vital to the survival of the many plant and animal species that it harbors. (