The Current and Future Status of Floristic Provinces in Thailand

The Current and Future Status of Floristic Provinces in Thailand

P.C. van Welzen (Leiden University, The Netherlands), A. Madern (Leiden University, The Netherlands), N. Raes (Leiden University, The Netherlands), J.A.N. Parnell (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), D.A. Simpson (Royal Botanical Gardens, UK), C. Byrne (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), T. Curtis (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), J. Macklin (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), A. Trias-Blasi (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), A. Prajaksood (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), P. Bygrave (Royal Botanical Gardens, UK), S. Dransfield (Royal Botanical Gardens, UK), D.W. Kirkup (Royal Botanical Gardens, UK), J. Moat (Royal Botanical Gardens, UK), P. Wilkin (Royal Botanical Gardens, UK), C. Couch (Royal Botanical Gardens, UK), P.C. Boyce (Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia), K. Chayamarit (Thailand Botanical Garden Association, Thailand), P. Chantaranothai (Khon Kaen University, Thailand), H-J. Esser (Botanische Staatssammlung München, Germany), M.H.P. Jebb (Ireland National Botanical Gardens, Ireland), K. Larsen (University of Aarhus, Denmark), S.S. Larsen (University of Aarhus, Denmark), I. Nielsen (University of Aarhus, Denmark), C. Meade (National University of Ireland, Ireland), D.J. Middleton (Scotland Royal Botanical Garden, UK), C.A. Pendry (Scotland Royal Botanical Garden, UK), A.M. Muasya (University of Cape Town, South Africa), N. Pattharahirantricin (Thailand Department of National Parks, Thailand), R. Pooma (Thailand Department of National Parks, Thailand), S. Suddee (Thailand Department of National Parks, Thailand), G.W. Staples (Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore), S. Sungkaew (Kasetsart University, Thailand) and A. Teerawatananon (Thailand National Science Museum, Thailand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-619-0.ch011
OnDemand PDF Download:


Two databases containing distribution data of species and specimens show that within Thailand preferably four floristic or phytogeographical regions can be discriminated (areas with a typical, unique and distinct plant composition): the Southern, Northern, Eastern and Central Region. They differ from the seven regions used at present in the Flora of Thailand Project. Modelling the effects of slight climate changes due to global warming shows that the floristic regions will be different in 2050. Not only will the areas differ, but the numbers of species per area will decrease dramatically, although species from outside Thailand may migrate into Thailand. Predictions contain a high degree of uncertainty, and they may never come true as they are strongly influenced by small, currently unpredictable effects. Nevertheless, the loss of biodiversity and its consequences for climate, economies, health, et cetera, are already becoming noticeable. Therefore, the protection and improvement of biodiversity should become the main focus of attention for all governments in the region.
Chapter Preview

1. Introduction

Species are generally not randomly distributed. Plants and animals originate via evolution and this always happens in a geographically restricted area. Thus, it is not surprising that man has searched for patterns in these distributions, that is in the areas in which species are found. One means of finding these patterns is to examine if certain areas can be characterized by species which are in combination typical for the area. The resulting regions are called, in the case of plants, floristic or phytogeographical regions. Usually, a country/continent is completely subdivided into these areas and these are mutually exclusive.

Thailand has a species rich and complex biodiversity that differs in various parts of the country (MacKinnon, 1997; Wikramanayake et al., 2002; Maxwell, 2004). Thailand harbours one of the 25 global hotspots of biodiversity (Myers et al., 2000) known as the Indo-Burmese Region. Unfortunately, the biodiversity of Thailand is under severe threat (Stibig et al., 2007). Indeed, the whole of Southeast Asia is on the verge of losing approximately three-quarters of its original forest cover by 2100, and up to 42% of its biodiversity (Sodhi et al., 2004). In Thailand, clearance for agriculture and other uses has reduced forest cover to perhaps as low as 20% (Santisuk et al., 1991), much of which may be degraded (Parnell et al., 2003). According to Middleton (2003), forest cover has declined from 50% in the 1950’s to 25% in 2000, as detected by Landsat-TM images, and this is one of the fastest rates of deforestation in the tropics (Middleton, 2003). Maxwell’s (2004) view is even more dramatic as he estimates forest cover to be reduced to 15%. Currently, the 115 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in Thailand together cover 6.72 M ha and the forest therein is protected, which equates to 53% of the remaining forest area or 8% of the total land area (Middleton, 2003). Even though little remains of the original deciduous and evergreen forests of Thailand, it is still one of the biodiverse countries in Southeast Asia (estimates by Middleton, 2003, and Parnell, 2000, are that, 10,250 and 12,500 higher plant species, respectively are found). The reason for the high level of species richness in Thailand is that the country is situated on the borders or at the cross-roads between four major biogeographical regions: the Himalayas in the northwest, China in the north, Indochina in the east, and Sundaland in the south. The flora is therefore influenced by Indochinese, Indo-Burmese and Malesian elements.

Based on these influences Smitinand (1958) discriminated seven floristic regions in Thailand (Figure 1). His delimitation of these regions was based on a manuscript by Dr. A.F.G. Kerr, which is present in the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK, but which we were unable to retrieve. Kerr distinguished six regions to which Smitinand added a seventh, the South-western region. The regions are still in use by botanists (e.g., Maxwell, 2004) and the Flora of Thailand Project (e.g., Santisuk & Larsen, 2009) today. The regions can be characterized as follows (sequences as used in the present floras; text largely after Smitinand, 1958):

Figure 1.

Phytogeographical areas of Thailand as used in the Flora of Thailand project. Provincial borders are indicated. N = Northern (yellow), NE = North-eastern (dark green), E = Eastern (green), SW = South-western (middle blue), C = Central (light blue), SE = South-eastern (dark blue), P = Peninsular (red)

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Maarten Hajer
Don Koo Lee
Yongyut Trisurat, Rajendra P. Shrestha, Rob Alkemade
Yongyut Trisurat, Rajendra P. Shrestha, Rob Alkemade
Chapter 1
Yongyut Trisurat, Rajendra P. Shrestha, Rob Alkemade
Biodiversity is the variety and variability among living organisms and ecological complexes in which they occur, and it can be divided into three... Sample PDF
Linkage between Biodiversity, Land Use Informatics and Climate Change
Chapter 2
Roland Cochard
Ever since their evolution, forests have been interacting with the Earth’s climate. Species diversity is particularly high in forests of stable... Sample PDF
Consequences of Deforestation and Climate Change on Biodiversity
Chapter 3
P. K. Joshi, Neena Priyanka
The dynamics of land use/land cover (LU/LC) is a manifestation of the cyclic correlation among the kind and magnitude of causes, impacts, responses... Sample PDF
Geo-Informatics for Land Use and Biodiversity Studies
Chapter 4
C. A. Mücher
This chapter concludes that, in combination with additional environmental data sets, it is now possible to model quantitatively the spatial extent... Sample PDF
Monitoring Biodiversity Using Remote Sensing and Field Surveys
Chapter 5
T. Kram, E. Stehfest
Continued population growth, rising per capita income, industrialization and ever-increasing flows of materials, have created growing concern over... Sample PDF
Integrated Modeling of Global Environmental Change (IMAGE)
Chapter 6
Peter H. Verburg, Jan Peter Lesschen, Eric Koomen, Marta Pérez-Soba
This chapter presents an integrated modelling approach for assessing land use changes and its effects on biodiversity. A modelling framework... Sample PDF
Simulating Land Use Policies Targeted to Protect Biodiversity with the CLUE-Scanner Model
Chapter 7
Nitin Kumar Tripathi, Aung Phey Khant
Biodiversity conservation is a challenging task due to ever growing impact of global warming and climate change. The chapter discusses various... Sample PDF
Landscape Biodiversity Characterization in Ecoregion 29 Using MODIS
Chapter 8
Rob Alkemade, Jan Janse, Wilbert van Rooij, Yongyut Trisurat
Biodiversity is decreasing at high rates due to a number of human impacts. The GLOBIO3 model has been developed to assess human-induced changes in... Sample PDF
Applying GLOBIO at Different Geographical Levels
Chapter 9
Yongyut Trisurat, Albertus G. Toxopeus
The results show that among the three approaches, the potentially suitable habitats derived from cartographic overlay cover the largest area and are... Sample PDF
Modeling Species Distribution
Chapter 10
Yongyut Trisurat, Rob Alkemade, Peter H. Verburg
Rapid deforestation has occurred in northern Thailand over the last few decades, and it is expected to continue. Besides deforestation, climate... Sample PDF
Modeling Land Use and Biodiversity in Northern Thailand
Chapter 11
P.C. van Welzen, A. Madern, N. Raes, J.A.N. Parnell, D.A. Simpson, C. Byrne, T. Curtis, J. Macklin, A. Trias-Blasi, A. Prajaksood, P. Bygrave, S. Dransfield, D.W. Kirkup, J. Moat, P. Wilkin, C. Couch, P.C. Boyce, K. Chayamarit, P. Chantaranothai, H-J. Esser, M.H.P. Jebb, K. Larsen, S.S. Larsen, I. Nielsen, C. Meade, D.J. Middleton, C.A. Pendry, A.M. Muasya, N. Pattharahirantricin, R. Pooma, S. Suddee, G.W. Staples, S. Sungkaew, A. Teerawatananon
Two databases containing distribution data of species and specimens show that within Thailand preferably four floristic or phytogeographical regions... Sample PDF
The Current and Future Status of Floristic Provinces in Thailand
Chapter 12
Vasyl Prydatko, Grygoriy Kolomytsev
Biodiversity modeling in Ukraine was recently developed in order to support policy making and for providing information to e.g. the reporting to the... Sample PDF
Biodiversity Modelling Experiences in Ukraine
Chapter 13
Carolina Tovar, Carlos Alberto Arnillas, Manuel Peralvo, Gustavo Galindo
Biodiversity assessment represents a baseline for developing conservation strategies, but the assessment of future impact of some policies also... Sample PDF
Regional Scenarios of Biodiversity State in the Tropical Andes
Chapter 14
Alan Grainger
Conservation planning for climate change adaptation is only one in a long sequence of conservation paradigms. To identify priority locations for... Sample PDF
The Influence of Changing Conservation Paradigms on Identifying Priority Protected Area Locations
Chapter 15
Rajendra P. Shrestha
Land degradation and biodiversity loss are important global change issues because of their enormous effect on the functioning of ecosystem. Despite... Sample PDF
Land Degradation and Biodiversity Loss in Southeast Asia
Chapter 16
Nguyen Kim Loi
With the changes in climatic, biophysical, socio-cultural, economic, and technological components, paradigm shifts in natural resources management... Sample PDF
Sustainable Land Use and Watershed Management in Response to Climate Change Impacts: Overview and Proposed Research Techniques
Chapter 17
Denisse McLean R.
The modeling of the state of biodiversity in Central America using GLOBIO3 methodology was carried out by the Regional Biodiversity Institute for... Sample PDF
Modeling of current and future state of biodiversity in Central America using GLOBIO3 methodology
Chapter 18
Lilik B. Prasetyo, Chandra Irawadi Wijaya, Yudi Setiawan
Java is very densely populated since it is inhabited by more than 60% of the total population of Indonesia. Based on data from the Ministry of... Sample PDF
Spatial Model Approach for Deforestation: Case Study in Java Island, Indonesia
Chapter 19
Nguyen Dieu Trinh, Wilbert van Rooij
Biodiversity modeling for supporting policy processes is a relatively new field. Models can help policy makers to get a quick assessment of... Sample PDF
Embedding Biodiversity Modelling in the Policy Process
Chapter 20
Yongyut Trisurat, Rob Alkemade, Rajendra P. Shrestha
This chapter summarizes key findings of all the chapters contained in the book and presents analytical views on how modeling of land use and climate... Sample PDF
Conclusion and Recommendations
About the Contributors