Central Ayeyarwady floodplain grasslands



Central Ayeyarwady floodplain grasslands have been almost entirely converted to rice paddies. It formerly occurred over vast areas of the flat Ayeyarwady floodplain where it was seasonally inundated with monsoonal rain between about May and October. Now, extensive engineering of levee banks and drainage channels have dramatically altered the majority of this ecosystem type. Floodplain grasslands lack woody vegetation and are completely dominated by grasses that persist through dry periods, although in some areas may remain nearly permanently inundated depending on rainfall patterns. In its natural state, this ecosystem supports a very high abundance of waterbirds, including bitterns, herons, egrets, ibis.

Assessment summary

Satellite derived data on the extent of seasonal surface water in the Ayeyarwady floodplain suggests that only 190 km 2 of this ecosystem has not been converted to cropland. Assuming all seasonally inundated areas of the floodplain were once the Central Ayeyarwady floodplain grassland ecosystem, an estimate 92.4% of this ecosystem has now been converted to cropland. No data on other components of ecosystem degradation was available. Thus, the ecosystem is listed as Critically Endangered (A3).