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A Multi-dimensional Assessment of Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services at Inle Lake, Myanmar; ICIMOD Working Paper 2017/17

  • Summary

One of the world’s Global 200 ecoregions and a freshwater biodiversity hotspot, Inle Lake is the in the top 10 most popular tourism destinations in Myanmar. The lake was formed 1.5 million years ago and is the second largest lake in Myanmar after Indawgyi. It is also a major source of hydropower for southern Myanmar. The remnant elongated lake is aligned on a north-south axis. Although the documentation of the flora and fauna of Inle Lake is limited, there are a number of records available from the early 20th Century and research interest has increased in the lake in recent years.


The diverse fauna that inhabit the lake and its surrounding include species that are listed as critically endangered, vulnerable, or nearly threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Many of the species of mammals and endemic fishes that inhabit the lake are listed in the IUCN red List. The lake is famous for its floating gardens, which are based on hydroponic cultivation. Plants from the families Gramineae and Cyperaceae, form tightly interwoven beds of running stems, roots, rhizomes, and hair-like roots, creating water mattresses that contain large blocks of rich organic soil. Major crops like tomatoes and beans are grown here hydroponically. The lake also supports livelihoods of fishermen (famous for their one-leg rowing technique), as well as numerous local businesses including tourism and agriculture.

Main Record

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  • Publisher Name:
    International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
  • Publisher Place:
    Kathmandu, Nepal