Habitats in the Lower Mekong Dry Forests Ecoregion
Forests, rivers and grasslands
Deciduous dipterocarp forest has an open canopy, grassy understorey, and sometimes occurs as savanna.
Large mammals seek escape from predators or the intense heat of the dry season in the densely vegetated semi-evergreen forests, located in the wetter areas.
Without these refuges, it is likely that the dry forest mosaics would have both fewer species and fewer individuals of any one species.
Mixed in with these forest formations are meadows and ponds, as well as other seasonal wetlands associated with the Mekong and its tributaries.
Wetlands play an integral role in the ecology of the dry forests, and are particularly important during the dry months.
Repeated fires are thought to be responsible for the conversion of part of this landscape from semi-evergreen to deciduous dipterocarp forest and savanna grasslands. Some of these fires will have been due to increased human activity in the past centuries, so shaping the complexity of the landscape that we see today.
Water also plays a large role in the daily and seasonal movements of animals in the Dry Forests. In the wet season, new areas open up as once again the grass grows, river flows, and marshes and other wetlands re-fill. In the dry season, fauna are on the move again, searching for reliable supplies of water. Some streams disappear entirely. Others maintain isolated permanent pools. At this time of the year, wildlife become much more concentrated around these permanent water supplies.