Magway dry cycad forest
Magway dry cycad forest is a very distinctive ecosystem that occurs under drier conditions than other semi-evergreen forests in this region, yet hosts a high proportion of evergreen tree species. It is a seasonally dry tropical forest with elements of dipterocarp (probably Dipterocarpus tuberculatas), Shorea, and Terminalia (Dipterocarpaceae). It characteristically includes Cycads (probably Cycas cf. pectinata). It occurs primarily red sandy soils at the eastern foothills of the Rakhine hills on the western edge of the central dry zone. In this region there is a seasonally dry period of greater than 6 months, where monthly rainfall rarely exceeds 100 mm. Canopy is predominantly low, between 5-10 m. A distinct lack of grass in the understorey, which is rather dominated by copious amounts of leaf litter.
This ecosystem is restricted to a small band on the western foothills of the central dry zone. Ongoing threats, primarily clearing for agriculture and farming, as well as grazing within the ecosystem, suggest an ongoing decline. Furthermore, climate suitability modelling suggests large reductions in suitable conditions over the next three decades, although we do note some variability depending on various climate change scenarios. Analyses of primary forest data also suggest historical degradation of this ecosystem to an extent sufficient to meet the D3 category threshold for Endangered. The ecosystem is therefore assessed as Endangered with a plausible range of Vulnerable – Critically Endangered.