<p><strong>A boy in a basin navigates through a floating village in Tonle Sap Great Lake, <a id="xcxh" title="Cambodia" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/cambodia-guide/">Cambodia</a>, on September 13, 2009.</strong></p><p>The lakes, rivers, and floodplains of the <a id="ukc0" title="Indo-Burma region (see map)" href="http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/xp/hotspots/indo_burma/Pages/default.aspx">Indo-Burma region (see map)</a> crisscross one of the world's top ten at-risk forest biodiversity hot spots, according to a new ranking created by the nonprofit Conservation International. Biodiversity hot spots, first defined in 1988, are areas that conservationists deem most critical for saving species.</p><p>The areas included in the 2011 report each harbor at least 1,500 native plant species but have lost 90 percent or more of their original habitats. The report was compiled to coincide with the United Nations' <a id="ub0g" title="International Year of Forests" href="http://www.un.org/en/events/iyof2011/">International Year of Forests</a>. (See <a id="g.2c" title="&quot;Tigers, Elephants Returning to War-Torn Cambodia Forest.&quot;" href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/05/080527-cambodia-wildlife.html">"Tigers, Elephants Returning to War-Torn Cambodia Forest."</a>)</p><p>Forests cover only 30 percent of the planet's area but are home to 80 percent of the world's land animals and plants, according to the conservation group. In addition to housing diverse species, forests provide "vital benefits" for humans, including timber, food, shelter, recreation, <a id="a:4x" title="fresh water" href="http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater">fresh water</a>, and erosion prevention, according to <a id="twif" title="Olivier Langrand" href="http://www.conservation.org/newsroom/experts/Pages/langrand.aspx">Olivier Langrand</a>, Conservation International's international policy chief.</p><p>"Forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate to give room to pastures, agricultural land, mineral exploitation, and sprawling urban areas, but by doing so we are destroying our own capacity to survive,"&nbsp;Langrand said in a statement.</p>

Indo-Burma Region

A boy in a basin navigates through a floating village in Tonle Sap Great Lake, Cambodia, on September 13, 2009.

The lakes, rivers, and floodplains of the Indo-Burma region (see map) crisscross one of the world's top ten at-risk forest biodiversity hot spots, according to a new ranking created by the nonprofit Conservation International. Biodiversity hot spots, first defined in 1988, are areas that conservationists deem most critical for saving species.

The areas included in the 2011 report each harbor at least 1,500 native plant species but have lost 90 percent or more of their original habitats. The report was compiled to coincide with the United Nations' International Year of Forests. (See "Tigers, Elephants Returning to War-Torn Cambodia Forest.")

Forests cover only 30 percent of the planet's area but are home to 80 percent of the world's land animals and plants, according to the conservation group. In addition to housing diverse species, forests provide "vital benefits" for humans, including timber, food, shelter, recreation, fresh water, and erosion prevention, according to Olivier Langrand, Conservation International's international policy chief.

"Forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate to give room to pastures, agricultural land, mineral exploitation, and sprawling urban areas, but by doing so we are destroying our own capacity to survive," Langrand said in a statement.

Photograph courtesy Sitha Som, Conservation International

Pictures: Ten Most Threatened Forest Hot Spots Named

From California's redwoods to Cambodia's wetlands—see which forest hot spots are in trouble around the world, according to a new report.

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