Cambodia’s coastal parks are incredibly diverse, comprising a wide variety of flora and fauna. In the Cardamom Mountains, the rain forests stretch right down to the sea and some of the best- preserved mangrove estuaries in Asia are also on this coastline. Shallower waters contain rich seagrass beds, the diet of dugongs and green turtles. Many of Cambodia’s 77 offshore islands have reefs, which are home to hundreds of varieties of coral and fish. These ecosystems, however, are under severe threat and many species are endangered because of loss of habitat and deforestation, illegal wildlife trading, destructive fishing, and poaching. Farming and forestry concessions, even inside national parks, have led to the removal of wildlife territory and land being cleared for wood chip production.
Coastal Cambodia contains some of the richest forest environments in Southeast Asia. At lower altitudes, the dense tropical rainforests can soar to a height of almost 164 ft (50 m) or so.
The coastal waters of Cambodia are quite shallow, not more than 199 ft (60 m) deep. The extensive reefs are rich in variety, consisting of hard and soft corals, and teem with marine life such as crabs, fish, and turtles – a haven for scuba divers.