Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, Thailand

The Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex spans 230 km between Ta Phraya National Park on the Cambodian border in the east, and Khao Yai National Park in the west. The site is home to more than 800 species of fauna, including 112 mammal species (among them two species of gibbon), 392 bird species and 200 reptile and amphibian species. It is internationally important for the conservation of globally threatened and endangered mammal, bird and reptile species, among them 19 that are vulnerable, four that are endangered, and one that is critically endangered. The area contains substantial and important tropical forest ecosystems, which can provide a viable habitat for the long-term survival of these species.

Home to more than 800 species of fauna and located in northeast Thailand, Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex (DPKY-FC) covers 615,500 hectares and comprises five almost contiguous Protected Areas; Khao Yai National Park, Thap Lan National Park, Pang Sida National Park, Ta Phraya National Park, and Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary. The complex spans 230 kilometers from Ta Phraya National Park on the Cambodian border in the east and Khao Yai National Park at the western end of the complex. It lies in an east-west alignment along and below the Korat Plateau, the southern edge of which is formed by the Phanom Dongrek escarpment. The property falls inside the Central Indochina biogeographic unit and borders the Cardamom Mountains biogeographic unit. The complex also lies at the edge of the Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forest (WWF Global 200 Ecoregion 35) and the Indochina Dry Forest (Ecoregion 54).

Internationally important for its biodiversity and the conservation of globally threatened and endangered mammal, bird and reptile species, the property is home to one critically endangered (Siamese Crocodile), four endangered (Asian Elephant, Tiger, Leopard Cat, Banteng) and 19 vulnerable species. The property protects some of the largest remaining populations in the region of many important wildlife species and is the only known location where White-headed and Pileated Gibbon species have overlapping ranges and interbreed.

The Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, with its high annual rainfall, acts as a critically important watershed for Thailand, draining into and feeding five of the country’s major rivers: Nakhon Nayok river, Prachin Buri river, Lamta Khong river, Muak Lek river, and Mun river. The  waterfalls and creeks within the property, together with the variety of flora and fauna and dramatic forested landscapes, attract millions of visitors every year for recreation and education purposes.

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