Western Shan Plateau subtropical evergreen rainforest



This is a complex evergreen rainforest that occurs on rich limestone and shale soils on the western Shan plateau. The closed tree canopy is up to 25- 40 m tall, with a diversity of notophyll to microphyll leaf sizes. The trees represent a diverse array of plant families, and some have buttress roots and cauliflory. Epiphytic orchids and ferns, and lianas are abundant in the tree canopy. The understorey includes ferns and forbs. Subtropical rainforest on the western Shan plateau typically forms distinct mosaics with Shan Hills pine savanna with fine- scale distributions probably mediated by water availability and occurrence of fire. However, the rainforest matrix has been severely fragmented by intensive agricultural land use. A particularly good remnant example of this ecosystem can be found at Ye Aye reservoir, Kalaw.

Assessment summary

This ecosystem has been highly fragmented and now only remains in very small patches across wetter areas of western Shan state. Our map data, developed by mapping evergreen forest cover in the regions with greater than 1,500 mm per year rainfall and between 900-1,400 m in altitude, suggested that very small patches of this ecosystem still occur across Shan state. Primary forest maps suggest than >50% of this ecosystem is not considered primary forest, meeting category thresholds for Vulnerable under D3. Further work to better identify the remaining patches of this ecosystem is required to refine this first assessment. Vulnerable.