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 Songkhram River Basin, Thailand
 
Key biodiversity values
  
Site description

The Lower Songkhram River Basin encompasses a broad range of wetland habitat types associated with a functional floodplain ecosystem, linked to the Mekong River. Annual extensive flooding phenomena is dependent on in-basin precipitation and a backwater effect from the Mekong which in some years shows a marked backflow. The river supports a remarkably productive capture fishery, which peaks each year during the flood recession period, supporting the livelihoods of numerous families locally. The site is notable for holding one of the last extensive areas of seasonally-inundated riverine forests in the Mekong Basin.


Biodiversity highlights


The floodplain wetland site supports several rare and threatened fish species, including five species on the IUCN Red List, plus is an important resting and feeding site for migratory birds on the East Asian Flyway. The area is generally poorly studied for most major taxa and data is sparse.


Habitats
  • Seasonally inundated riverine forest, dominated by bamboo (Bambusa sp.) stands and mixed species low scrub
  • Marshes and swamps
  • Ox-bow lakes and cut-off channels
  • Mainstream river channel and pools
  • Seasonal streams
  • Artificial reservoirs and lakes
  • Rice fields
  • Seasonally flooded grasslands
Mammals Few remaining due to hunting pressure and habitat loss. Reported presence of Asiatic jackals (Canis aureus)

Birds: Globally threatened and endangered species at the site.


Cumulative total of 102 species recorded to date, including 72 species in a rapid assessment for MWBP in March 2006. Some rare species found.


Reptiles: Globally threatened and endangered recorded at site

Data deficient. One survey reported the presence of 11 species from 5 families, including the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)

Amphibians

Data deficient. One survey identified seven species from three families.

Fish: Status and Globally threatened and endangered recorded at site.

At least 183 spp. have been identified during past Department of Fisheries surveys. These include the IUCN Red Listed ‘critically endangered’ giant Mekong catfish (Panagasianodon gigas), also recognized as an MWBP ‘flagship species’ and the world’s second smallest fish species (Boraras micros). Local participatory research in the Lower River Basin recognized 124 species being present, of which 57 species were considered to be migrants from the Mekong mainstream.

Invertebrates

Data deficient. Research for MWBP recorded 19 species of Odonata from 10 sites in March 2006. Local people report the presence of 10 species of mollusc, three species of shrimp and four species of crab from the Lower Basin wetlands complex.

Plants

Local participatory research has identified a total of 191 native species of plants with beneficial uses found in the seasonally inundated forest of just four floodplain communities. A rapid survey for MWBP in March 2006, found at least 111 species of plants across nine wetland sites.