About the area

Forests of Mystery

The Dry Forests of the lower Mekong form the largest continuous tract of dry forest in the whole of mainland South East Asia. The largest area is a massive 62,500km² and is termed the Lower Mekong Dry Forests Ecoregion. Much of the forest remains undiscovered, and new species continue to be discovered there.

Incredibly diverse
The dry forest ecoregion harbours some of the most diverse monsoon and dry forests in Asia. They provide a safe haven for an incredibly diverse range of important species of plants and animals.

Royal mammal
Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia designated the mysterious kouprey as the country's national animal in 1960. Whether this creature still roams the dry forests, its only known habitat, is unconfirmed.

Galloping game lands
The dry forest of northeast Cambodia were once considered one of the great game lands of the world - comparable even to the great plains of Africa.

Dry forests are wet too
Despite the name, the dry forests have an incredible rainy season. Some 90% of the annual rain falls in just 7 months. Thus, the contrast between the rainy and dry seasons is extreme - a lush rainy season is followed by an extremely arid 5 months, with less than 50mm of rain falling each month.

Shared landscape
People and wildlife in this area have co-existed in parts of this landscape for generations. They have helped shaped the diversity and complexity of life in the region that we are now attempting to conserve.

Together with government and NGO partners, WWF is working towards finding a balance between development and conservation, for the long-term benefit of the people, plants and animals which share this globally significant ecoregion.

Quick facts

Size: 12 million ha
Protected areas: 17
Habitat: Tropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests
Geographic Location: Cambodia and small areas of Laos and Vietnam
Endangered species:
10
Lower Mekong Dry Forest Ecoregion. / ©: WWF
Lower Mekong Dry Forest Ecoregion. Click here for larger map.
© WWF

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