Although Southeast Asia covers only 3% of the world's total land, it houses a quarter of the Earth’s plant and animal species. The lush biodiversity of the ASEAN Heritage Parks, a network of exceptionally protected areas, includes tropical peatlands, forests, mangroves, coral reefs, rivers and oceans. It spans 10 countries and territories, including three of the world’s 17 “megadiverse” countries — Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Here at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, we aim to expand access to our heritage parks through the responsible use of new technologies so everyone can enjoy the nature that our region has to offer. In collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, this new project Southeast Asia: The World’s Habitat enables people from around the world to explore the biodiversity and natural heritage in the region.
Explore the ASEAN Heritage Parks
Southeast Asia is home to 57 ASEAN Heritage Parks, including the latest officially recognized Phu Kieo Wildlife Sanctuary and Phu Kradueng National Park in Thailand. These protected areas represent the range of diversity in the ASEAN region’s ecosystems, home to indigenous peoples, wild orangutans, the largest flower on Earth (the Rafflesia Arnoldii), and more.
These sites not only provide beautiful scenery, but also provide us with a sustainable supply of food, water, and biodiversity-based raw materials, not to mention help regulate the Earth’s climate.
Unfortunately, this biodiversity is under threat from habitat loss, climate change and illegal wildlife trade. Biodiversity is key to building a sustainable future for all, so it’s our hope that this digital collection will inspire greater collaboration among ASEAN member states in working towards preserving our shared natural heritage, and build more appreciation for our shared natural treasures.
I invite you to explore the boundless wonders of Southeast Asia with Google Arts & Culture. Take a journey to this “megadiverse” region on your mobile devices or on the web.