Kachin Hills subtropical rainforest



The Kachin hills subtropical rain forest is a biologically complex, closed canopy lower montane forest. It is mainly found between 700 – 1,500 m where there are high moisture levels. Kingdon-Ward (1944) defined the lower limit of this zone as roughly the winter mist line, which is the altitude above which winter mists do not normally lie. The upper limit of this ecosystem corresponds roughly with the upper distribution of palm species such as Pinanga sylvestris and Wallichia caryotoides (Arecaceae). Within this zone there is a transition of taxa from those with tropical to subtropical-temperate affinities. Rhododendron (Ericaceae) first appears within the ecosystem at around 1,000 m in altitude. Epiphytes, including many ferns and Ericaceous shrubs (e.g. Vaccinium and Agapetes) become more common at the higher elevations in this zone. Due to the exceptionally high moisture levels, woody taxa which are typically terrestrial become epiphytes here, completely covering the trees. This evergreen subtropical forest is found at higher elevations and often higher slope than Kachin lowland evergreen subtropical forest.

Assessment summary

This ecosystem is threatened by widespread logging, shifting cultivation and mining. However, our assessment did not identify losses of primary forest over the past two decades of a magnitude sufficient to reach category thresholds. With no time-series map data of its changing distribution, this ecosystem remains data deficient for Criterion A. A post-assessment review indicated that further data may result in an assessment outcome other than Least Concern. Therefore, we recommend urgent further work to address this knowledge gap and enable a complete assessment of this ecosystem type. Data Deficient.