Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia. It is the largest country in Mainland Southeast Asia, and has a population of about 54 million as of 2017. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos and Thailand to its east and southeast, and the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal to its south and southwest.
Myanmar is a biodiverse country with more than 16,000 plant, 314 mammal, 1131 bird, 293 reptile, and 139 amphibian species, and 64 terrestrial ecosystems including tropical and subtropical vegetation, seasonally inundated wetlands, shoreline and tidal systems, and alpine ecosystems. Myanmar houses some of the largest intact natural ecosystems in Southeast Asia, but the remaining ecosystems are under threat from land use intensification and over-exploitation. According to the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems categories and criteria more than a third of Myanmar's land area has been converted to anthropogenic ecosystems over the last 2–3 centuries, and nearly half of its ecosystems are threatened. Despite large gaps in information for some ecosystems, there is a large potential to develop a comprehensive protected area network that protects its terrestrial biodiversity.
Myanmar continues to perform badly in the global Environmental Performance Index with an overall ranking of 153 out of 180 countries in 2016; among the worst in the South Asian region, only ahead of Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The EPI was established in 2001 by the World Economic Forum as a global gauge to measure how well individual countries perform in implementing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The environmental areas where Myanmar performs worst are air quality, health impacts of environmental issues and biodiversity and habitat, Myanmar performs best in environmental impacts of fisheries but with declining fish stocks. Despite several issues, Myanmar also ranks 64 and scores very good in environmental effects of the agricultural industry because of an excellent management of the nitrogen cycle. Myanmar is one of the most highly vulnerable countries to climate change; this poses a number of social, political, economic and foreign policy challenges to the country. The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 7.18/10, ranking it 49th globally out of 172 countries.
Myanmar's slow economic growth has contributed to the preservation of much of its environment and ecosystems. Forests, including dense tropical growth and valuable teak in lower Myanmar, cover over 49% of the country, including areas of acacia, bamboo, ironwood and Magnolia champaca. Coconut and betel palm and rubber have been introduced. In the highlands of the north, oak, pine and various rhododendrons cover much of the land.
Heavy logging since the new 1995 forestry law went into effect has seriously reduced forest area and wildlife habitat. The lands along the coast support all varieties of tropical fruits and once had large areas of mangroves although much of the protective mangroves have disappeared. In much of central Myanmar, vegetation is sparse and stunted.
Typical jungle animals, particularly tigers, occur sparsely in Myanmar. In upper Myanmar, there are rhinoceros, wild water buffalo, clouded leopard, wild boars, deer, antelope, and elephants, which are also tamed or bred in captivity for use as work animals, particularly in the lumber industry. Smaller mammals are also numerous, ranging from gibbons and monkeys to flying foxes. The abundance of birds is notable with over 800 species, including parrots, myna, peafowl, red junglefowl, weaverbirds, crows, herons, and barn owl. Among reptile species there are crocodiles, geckos, cobras, Burmese pythons, and turtles. Hundreds of species of freshwater fish are wide-ranging, plentiful and are very important food sources.