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Welcome to the South East Asian Biodiversity Website: Countries
(Updated on Monday, October 20, 2003 )

Countries

Brunei
Cambodia
Indonesia
Laos
Malaysia
Myanmar
Philippines
Singapore
Thailand
Vietnam


BRUNEI

Location
Southeastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia

Area
Total area: 5,770 sq km
Land area: 5,270 sq km
Comparative area: slightly larger than Delaware

Land boundaries
Total 381 km, Malysia 381 km

Coastline
161 km

Climate
Tropical; hot, humid, rainy

Terrain Flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west

Natural resources
Petroleum, natural gas, timber

Land use
Arable land: 1%
Permanent crops: 1%
Meadows and pastures: 1%
Forest and woodland: 79%
Other: 18%

Environment
Current issues: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons, earthquakes, and severe flooding are very rare
International agreements: party to - Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Law of the Sea

Note
Close to vital sea lanes through South China Sea linking Indian and Pacific Oceans; two parts physically separated by Malaysia; almost an enclave of Malaysia

Population
292,266 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Bruneian(s)
Adjective: Bruneian

Ethnic divisions
Malay 64%, Chinese 20%, Others 16%

Religions
Muslim (official) 63%, Buddhism 14%, Christian 8%, Indigenous beliefs and Others 15% (1981)

Languages
Malay (official), English, Chinese

Capital
Bandar Seri Begawan

Independence
1 January 1984 (from UK)

Flag
Yellow with two diagonal bands of white (top, almost double width) and black starting from the upper hoist side; the national emblem in red is superimposed at the center; the emblem includes a swallow-tailed flag on top of a winged column within an upturned crescent above a scroll and flanked by two upraised hands


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CAMBODIA

Location
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand and Vietnam

Area
Total area: 181,040 sq km
Land area: 176,520 sq km
Comparative area: slightly smaller than Oklahoma

Land boundaries
Total 2,572 km, Laos 541 km, Thailand 803 km, Vietnam 1,228 km

Coastline
443 km

Climate
Tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain Mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north

Natural resources
Timber, gemstones, some iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential

Land use
Arable land: 16%
Permanent crops: 1%
Meadows and pastures: 3%
Forest and woodland: 76%
Other: 4%

Environment
Current issues: logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand are resulting in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fisheries) ; deforestation; soil erosion; in rural areas, a majority of the population does not have access to potable water
Natural hazards: monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts
International agreements: party to - Marine Life Conservation, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping

Note
A land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap

Population
10,561,373 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Cambodian(s)
Adjective: Cambodian

Ethnic divisions
Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, Others 4%

Religions
Theravada Buddhism 95%, Others 5%

Languages
Khmer (official), French

Capital
Phnom Penh

Independence
9 November 1949 (from France)

Flag
Horizontal band of red separates two equal horizontal bands of blue with a white three-towered temple representing Angkor Wat in the center


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INDONESIA

Location
Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean

Area
Total area: 1,919,440 sq km
Land area: 1,826,440 sq km
Comparative area: slightly less than three times the size of Texas

Land boundaries
Total 2,602 km, Malaysia 1,782 km, Papua New Guinea 820 km

Coastline
54,716 km

Climate
Tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands

Terrain Mostly coastal lowlands; larger islands have interior mountains

Natural resources
Petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, fertile soils, coal, gold, silver

Land use
Arable land: 8%
Permanent crops: 3%
Meadows and pastures: 7%
Forest and woodland: 67%
Other: 15%

Environment
Current issues: deforestation; water pollution from industrial wastes, sewage; air pollution in urban areas
Natural hazards: occasional floods, severe droughts, and tsunamis
International agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Marine Life Conservation, Tropical Timber 94

Note
Archipelago of 13,500 islands (6,000 inhabited); straddles Equator; strategic location astride or along major sea lanes from Indian Ocean to Pacific Ocean

Population
203,583,886 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Indonesian(s)
Adjective: Indonesian

Ethnic divisions
Javanese 45%, Sundanese 14%, Madurese 7.5%, coastal Malays 7.5%, Others 26%

Religions
Muslim 87%, Protestant 6%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 2%, Buddhist 1%, Others 1% (1985)

Languages
Bahasa Indonesia (modified form of Malay; official), English, Dutch, local dialects the most widely spoken of which is Javanese

Capital
Jakarta

Independence
17 August 1945 (proclaimed independence; on 27 December 1949, Indonesia became legally independent from the Netherlands)

Flag
Two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white; similar to the flag of Monaco, which is shorter; also similar to the flag of Poland, which is white (top) and red


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LAOS

Location
Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand

Area
Total area: 236,800 sq km
Land area: 230,800 sq km
Comparative area: slightly larger than Utah

Land boundaries
Total 5,083 km, Burma 235 km, Cambodia 541 km, China 423 km, Thailand 1,754 km, Vietnam 2,130 km

Coastline
0 km (landlocked)

Climate
Tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)

Terrain Mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus

Natural resources
Timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones

Land use y
Arable land: 4%
Permanent crops: 0%
Meadows and pastures: 3%
Forest and woodland: 58%
Other: 35%

Environment
Current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water
Natural hazards: floods, droughts, and blight
International agreements: party to - Climate Change, Environmental Modification, Nuclear Test Ban; signed, but not ratified - Law of the Sea

Note
Landlocked

Population
4,837,237 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Lao(s) or Laotian(s)
Adjective: Lao or Laotian

Ethnic divisions
Lao Loum (lowland) 68%, Lao Theung (upland) 22%, Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong ("Meo") and the Yao (Mien) 9%, ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1%

Religions
Buddhist 60%, Animist and Others 40%

Languages
Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages

Capital
Vientiane

Independence
19 July 1949 (from France)

Flag
Three horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band


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MALAYSIA

Location
Southeastern Asia, peninsula and northern one-third of the island of Borneo bordering the Java Sea and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam

Area
Total area: 329,750 sq km
Land area: 328,550 sq km
Comparative area: slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries
Total 2,669 km, Brunei 381 km, Indonesia 1,782 km, Thailand 506 km

Coastline
4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)

Climate
Tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons

Terrain Coastal plains rising to hills and mountains

Natural resources
Tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite

Land use
Arable land: 3%
Permanent crops: 10%
Meadows and pastures: 0%
Forest and woodland: 63%
Other: 24%

Environment
Current issues: air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation
Natural hazards: flooding
International agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified - Law of the Sea

Note
Strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea

Population
19,723,587 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Malaysian(s)
Adjective: Malaysian

Ethnic divisions
Malay and other indigenous 59%, Chinese 32%, Indian 9%

Religions
Peninsula Malaysia: Muslim (Malays), Buddhist (Chinese), Hindu (Indians)
Sabah: Muslim 38%, Christian 17%, Others 45%
Sarawak: tribal religion 35%, Buddhist and Confucianist 24%, Muslim 20%, Christian 16%, Others 5%

Languages
Peninsula Malaysia: Malay (official), English, Chinese dialects, Tamil
Sabah: English, Malay, Numerous tribal dialects, Chinese (Mandarin and Hakka dialects predominate)
Sarawak: English, Malay, Mandarin, Numerous tribal languages

Capital
Kuala Lumpur

Independence
31 August 1957 (from UK)

Flag
Fourteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom); there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a yellow crescent and a yellow fourteen-pointed star; the crescent and the star are traditional symbols of Islam; the design was based on the flag of the US


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MYANMAR

Location
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand

Area
Total area: 678,500 sq km
Land area: 657,740 sq km
Comparative area: slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries
Total 5,876 km, Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km

Coastline
1,930 km

Climate
Tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)

Terrain Central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands

Natural resources
Petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas

Land use
Arable land: 15%
Permanent crops: 1%
Meadows and pastures: 1%
Forest and woodland: 49%
Other: 34%

Environment
Current issues: deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts
International agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified - Law of the Sea

Note
Strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes

Population
45,103,809 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Burmese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Burmese

Ethnic divisions
Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Mon 2%, Indian 2%, Others 5%

Religions
Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, Animist beliefs 1%, Others 2%

Languages
Burmese; minority ethnic groups have their own languages

Capital
Rangoon (regime refers to the capital as Yangon)

Independence
4 January 1948 (from UK)

Flag
Red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing, all in white, 14 five-pointed stars encircling a cogwheel containing a stalk of rice; the 14 stars represent the 14 administrative divisions


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PHILIPINES

Location
Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam

Area
Total area: 300,000 sq km
Land area: 298,170 sq km
Comparative area: slightly larger than Arizona

Land boundaries
0 km

Coastline
36,289 km

Climate
Tropical marine; northeast monsoon (November to April); southwest monsoon (May to October)

Terrain Mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands

Natural resources
Timber, petroleum, nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, salt, copper

Land use
Arable land: 26%
Permanent crops: 11%
Meadows and pastures: 4%
Forest and woodland: 40%
Other: 19%

Environment
Current issues: uncontrolled deforestation in watershed areas; soil erosion; air and water pollution in Manila; increasing pollution of coastal mangrove swamps which are important fish breeding grounds
Natural hazards: astride typhoon belt, usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms per year; landslides, active volcanoes, destructive earthquakes, tsunamis
International agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands

Note
None

Population
73,265,584 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Filipino(s)
Adjective: Philippine

Ethnic divisions
Christian Malay 91.5%, Muslim Malay 4%, Chinese 1.5%, Others 3%

Religions
Roman Catholic 83%, Protestant 9%, Muslim 5%, Buddhist and Others 3%

Languages
Pilipino (official; based on Tagalog), English (official)

Capital
Manila

Independence
4 July 1946 (from US)

Flag
Two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a white equilateral triangle based on the hoist side; in the center of the triangle is a yellow sun with eight primary rays (each containing three individual rays) and in each corner of the triangle is a small yellow five-pointed star


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SINGAPORE

Location
Southeastern Asia, islands between Malaysia and Indonesia

Area
Total area: 632.6 sq km
Land area: 622.6 sq km
Comparative area: slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries
0 km

Coastline
193 km

Climate
Tropical; hot, humid, rainy; no pronounced rainy or dry seasons; thunderstorms occur on 40% of all days (67% of days in April)

Terrain Lowland; gently undulating central plateau contains water catchment area and nature preserve

Natural resources
Fish, deepwater ports

Land use
Arable land: 4%
Permanent crops: 7%
Meadows and pastures: 0%
Forest and woodland: 5%
Other: 84%

Environment
Current issues: industrial pollution; limited natural fresh water resources; limited land availability presents waste disposal problems
Natural hazards: NA
International agreements: party to - Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change

Note
Focal point for Southeast Asian sea routes

Population
2,890,468 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Singaporean(s)
Adjective: Singapore

Ethnic divisions
Chinese 76.4%, Malay 14.9%, Indian 6.4%, Others 2.3%

Religions
Buddhist (Chinese), Muslim (Malays), Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Taoist, Confucianist

Languages
English (official), Chinese (official), Malay (official and national), Tamil (official).

Capital
Singapore

Independence
9 August 1965 (from Malaysia)

Flag
Two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white; near the hoist side of the red band, there is a vertical, white crescent (closed portion is toward the hoist side) partially enclosing five white five-pointed stars arranged in a circle.


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THAILAND

Location
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma

Area
Total area: 514,000 sq km
Land area: 511,770 sq km
Comparative area: slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming DC

Land boundaries
Total 4,863 km, Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km

Coastline
3,219 km

Climate
Tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid

Terrain Central plain; Khorat plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere

Natural resources
Tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite

Land use
Arable land: 34%
Permanent crops: 4%
Meadows and pastures: 1%
Forest and woodland: 30%
Other: 31%

Environment
Current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting
Natural hazards: land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts
International agreements: party to - Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea

Note
Controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore

Population
60,271,300 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Thai (singular and plural)
Adjective: Thai

Ethnic divisions
Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, Others 11%

Religions
Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, Others 0.6% (1991)

Languages
Thai, English the secondary language of the elite, ethnic and regional dialects

Capital
Bangkok

Independence
1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)

Flag
Five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red


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VIETNAM

Location
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, between China and Cambodia

Area
Total area: 329,560 sq km
Land area: 325,360 sq km
Comparative area: slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries
Total 3,818 km, Cambodia 982 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 1,555 km

Coastline
3,444 km (excludes islands)

Climate
Tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March)

Terrain Low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest

Natural resources
Phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil deposits, forests

Land use
Arable land: 22%
Permanent crops: 2%
Meadows and pastures: 1%
Forest and woodland: 40%
Other: 35%

Environment
Current issues: logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices are contributing to deforestation; soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threatening marine life populations; inadequate supplies of potable water because of groundwater contamination
Natural hazards: occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding
International agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Nuclear Test Ban

Note
NA

Population
74,393,324 (July 1995 est.)

Nationality
Noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Vietnamese

Ethnic divisions
Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese 3%, Muong, Thai, Meo, Khmer, Man, Cham

Religions
Buddhist, Taoist, Roman Catholic, Indigenous beliefs, Islam, Protestant

Languages
Vietnamese (official), French, Chinese, English, Khmer, tribal languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

Capital
Hanoi

Independence
2 September 1945 (from France)

Flag
Red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center


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