Cardamom Mountains Moist Forests | WWF

Cardamom Mountains Moist Forests

Flowering deciduous forest trees, N.E. of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
© WWF / Gerald S. CUBITT

About the Area

Human population pressures are low in much of this region, and that has helped to protect much of the wildlife habitat - especially for tigers and Asian elephants.

The Cardamom Mountain rain forests are considered to be one of the most species-rich and intact natural habitats in the region, but they are also one of the least explored.

The forests of the Elephant and Cardamom Mountains, especially the rain forests on the western slopes, are mostly intact in Vietnam, although the small area that extends into Thailand is not.

44,000 sq. km (17,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

Geographic Location:
Southeastern Asia: Cambodia and Thailand

Conservation Status:
Relatively Stable/Intact
Local Species
One of the most abundant canopy species in wet evergreen forests is Hopea pierrei, a small tree of limited distribution outside this area. Other tree species include Anisoptera costata, A. glabra, Dipterocarpus costatus, Hopea odorata, Shorea hypochra, Caryota urens, and Oncosperma tigillarium.

The forests support a number of endangered species such as the pileated gibbon (Hylobates pileatus), tiger (Panthera tigris), and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Other mammals include sun bear (Ursus malayanus), clouded leopard (Pardofelis nebulosa), gaur (Bos gaurus), and banteng (B. javanicus).

Some species occur here which are otherwise found only in Thailand's southern peninsula. These include the flying lemur (Cynocephalus variegatus), moustached hawk cuckoo (Cuculus vagans), buffy fish-owl (Ketupa ketupu), silver oriole (Oriolus mellianus), and the greater mouse deer (Tragulus napu).

The bird fauna is estimated at more than 450 species and includes 2 strict endemic species.
	© WWF / Martin HARVEY
Pileated gibbon (Hylobates pileatus). Pileated gibbons are found in rainforest habitats, including semideciduous monsoon forests, mixed deciduous and evergreen forests, and tropical evergreen forests throughout their range.
© WWF / Martin HARVEY

Featured Species

The name 'mouse deer' (Tragulus napu) refers to its extremely small size (although it is not a true deer), while the seemingly oxymoronic 'larger' is in reference to its size when compared to its smaller cousin.

The greater mouse deer’s body length is 70-75 cm while its weight is 5-8 kg. Rather than horns or antlers, the male has a set of elongated upper canines or tusks that protrude from the sides of the mouth like fangs. The female larger Malay mouse deer has the potential to be pregnant throughout her adult life, often having just 1-2 hours to catch her breath between giving birth and becoming pregnant again.

Larger Malay mouse deer are nocturnal, and hence rarely seen. Extremely territorial by nature, both sexes of larger Malay mouse deer regularly mark their territories with urine, faeces, and secretions from an intermandibular gland under the chin. When agitated, larger Malay mouse deer drum on the ground with their hoofs at 4 times per second. Their diet consists of buds, leaves, fruit, and probably small amounts of animal food.

Read more:
There is a need for more protected areas in hilly regions, as they are vulnerable to human population pressures and activities.

Species are also at risk. For example, pileated gibbon populations are declining due the rapid destruction of their forest habitats. It is estimated that all species of gibbons will be at risk of extinction in the near future due to deforestation. The widespread presence of antipersonnel landmines poses a severe threat to both wildlife and humans.
WWF’s work
WWF first began working in Cambodia in 1993, managing several conservation projects. In 1998, WWF expanded its programme, setting up its first office in Cambodia in 1998 within the Ministry of the Environment. Since then WWF Cambodia has grown steadily. Today the office employs more than 30 staff implementing a variety of ambitious and complex conservation projects and collaborating with numerous donors and government agencies.

Much of WWF's current work in Cambodia focuses on the Lower Mekong Dry Forest Ecoregion, the largest continuous tract of dry forest in the whole of mainland Southeast Asia, a massive area of 62,000 square kilometers, twice the size of Belgium. By encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources, WWF will promote new opportunities for the benefit of all people, enhancing local livelihoods and contributing to poverty reduction in Cambodia.

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