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Plants and Animals

Plants and Animals


Approximately half of Myanmar still consists of forests, with besides the tropical rainforest also mangrove, monsoon and extensive bamboo forests. In the more temperate climate zones, you will also find deciduous forests, pine forests and grassy steppes. In the cool climate of the high plateau of Shan State, oak, hazelnut and rhododendron grow. The forests suffer greatly from continuous felling, especially the hardwoods such as teak and Burmese ironwood of the pyinkado. Teak trees in the wild only occur in countries like India, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. By illegal felling and no reforestation the number of teak forests in Myanmar is disappearing very fast. From the bark of the cinchona tree quinine is extracted, a medicine against malaria.

The dry zone in the central part of Myanmar has a savannah landscape with here and there some acacias, thorn bushes, cacti and the palmyrapalm, whose sap is used to make palm wine. On the lower slopes of the mountains in the north grow subtropical trees (cassia trees, flamboyants, African tulip trees and coral trees) and plants. Above 3000 metres there is mainly mixed forest and above 3000 metres conifers, rhododendrons and conifers. The wet coastal areas of Rakhine and Tanintharyi are covered with tropical rainforest and at the mouths of rivers, in lagoons and on swampy coasts there are tidal forests with mangroves. Coconut palms grow mainly on the coast and the areca palm grows the betel nut, which is a member of the pepper family. Wrapped in betel leaves, it is chewed and is considered the national drug of Myanmar.

There are more than 1000 different types of orchids in Myanmar. Bamboo is still grown in many places and used for traditional housing. There are also many wild species of bamboo growing in the forests.


Not much is known about the state of Myanmar's fauna at present because of the country's inaccessibility, even to scientists. The fauna in the north of Myanmar is very similar to that of the north-eastern part of the Indian subcontinent and of Indo-China. In the south, the fauna resembles that of Malaysia and the Indonesian archipelago. Like the flora, the fauna also suffers greatly from the illegal mass clearing of forests and the illegal hunting of animals. National parks and reserves are basically unknown.

Despite the threat to their natural environment, elephants, leopards, black bear, Himalayan bear, the rare Malayan sun bear, flying squirrels and dogs, deer (sambar, muntjac, mouse), crocodiles and gibbons can be found in Myanmar.

Rare are the tapirs found in the isolated northwest and the Javan and Sumatran rhinos, snow leopards and tigers. The mungo, a marten, and the pangolin, an anteater, are indigenous. Myanmar also has many snakes, 52 poisonous species including the king cobra, the krait and the green viper, but also strangling snakes such as the python.

Myanmar has a very rich bird world with more than 1200 species, both native and migratory.

The sea around Myanmar is home to sea turtles, dugongs (manatees) and Irrawaddy dolphins.

In 2015, it was announced that a songbird had been discovered in Myanmar that had been thought to be extinct for seventy years. It is the Jerdon's timal, which lives in the grasslands of Myanmar.


Hulst, H. / Birma: (Myanmar)
KIT Publishers/Oxfam Novib

K├Âllner, H. / Myanmar (Birma)
Het Spectrum

Myat Yin, S. / Burma
Times Books

Peterse, L. / Birma (Myanmar)

Reid, R. / Myanmar (Burma)
Lonely Planet


CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info