The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in Indo-Burma

The Indo-Burma project, funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), focused on assessing the conservation status of all described species of freshwater fishes, molluscs, odonates and selected families of aquatic plants native to the Indo-Burma hotspot. Assessment areas included the Salween, Chao Praya and the Mekong rivers, as well as coastal basins in Thailand and Viet Nam.

The project contributes to filling the information gap that currently impairs conservation planning in the area by implementing comprehensive assessments of the freshwater biodiversity through detailed evaluations of species distributions, ecology and extinction risk. The exceptional concentration of species found in the freshwaters of the Indo-Burma region, coupled with the essential ecosystem services that are supplied to humanity by these freshwaters and their biodiversity, and the increasing threats to the ecosystems, indicate the importance and urgency of this project.  

The project was initiated in 2009 with a training workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The workshop helped to equip regional scientists and experts working on the project with the knowledge of how to assess freshwater species using a standardised methodology, employing the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, making all assessments comparable. A second workshop was held in 2011 to review the initial assessments and the project was completed in 2012 with the publication of a report summarizing the findings. All species assessments are also published on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (www.iucnredlist.org). The final report provides an essential resource for guiding future decisions on the conservation and sustainable management of freshwater biodiversity in the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot.  

-          The outputs of this project include the final technical report and provision of a database of information on freshwater fishes, molluscs, dragonflies and damselflies, and selected families of aquatic plants for the Indo-Burma region. Assimilated data will be made widely and freely available to ensure that they are used by NGOs, governmental organisations, and members of the private sector in their policy and programmatic work.

-          The long-term objective is to ensure informed and sustainable management practices for the region where conservation of biodiversity is incorporated as a key objective.

Download the 'Executive Summary and Key Messages' for an overview of the report

Flooded forests of the Mekong River, Stung Treng Ramsar Wetlands Site in northern Cambodia

 

 

The Endangered Giant Freshwater Whipray (Himantura polylepis) found in isolated populations from India to Indonesia is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world reaching 2 metres in disc width and is threatened by pollution and fishing pressure. This species requires further taxonomic research as it is possible that populations in the Mekong and other drainages may be distinct species.

 

2009 Red List training workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
  • The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l'Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.

    The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l'Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.

    Photo: CEPF

PROJECT AREA MAP
  • Indo Burma Project Area

    Indo Burma Project Area

    Photo: IUCN