Terrain shapes and bedrock
According to COUNTRYAAH, the terrain in Cambodia lacks clear linear features, which otherwise characterizes several countries on the Southeast Asian peninsula. The pelvic central plains occupy three quarters of Cambodia’s area. Highland areas in the periphery help to give the country its compact shape – 450 km in the north-south and 580 km in the east-west direction. An important element of the country’s geography is the Mekong River, which in its 505 km run drains most of Cambodia. Its annual floods in connection with the rainy season provide a rich addition in the form of alluvial sediments and water the large rice fields. In the southwestern part of the plain lies Lake Tonle Sap, which is drained south-east to the Mekong River.
The Randbergen in the north follows the border with Thailand for 320 km in a sandstone slope with a southern slope, the Dangrek Mountains, which reaches 180-550 m above sea level. To the east, the plains pass into highlands that continue into Laos and Vietnam. In the southwest, the Damreiber and Kravanh Mountains rise with the highest point in the country, 1,813 m above sea level. Quite isolated from the rest of the country, the coastal plain lies to the south.
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Cambodia’s geographical location creates a tropical monsoon climate, and the temperature varies between 35 ° C and 21 ° C. The rainfall is high, 5,000 mm per year on the slopes of the southwest mountains and 1,400 in the central plain. It is the southwest monsoon – from May to early October – that provides this rainfall and high humidity. From November to mid-March, it is dry time, because then the northeast monsoon, which gives low humidity.
One consequence of the heavy rainfall during the rainy season is that the water flow in the Mekong River is greatly increased, which among other things. means that water is compressed into Lake Tonle Sap, so that its maximum depth increases from 2 to 10 m and its surface becomes four times as large as during the dry season.
Plant-and animal life
The land was originally covered by tropical deciduous forests, but in the plains these are now practically completely gone or greatly altered. Today’s lowland forests, especially on nutrient-poor sandy surfaces, usually have an open character with sparse standing trees. Some areas with teak forest are still there. On the mountains in the southwest and in the east, on the border with Vietnam, evergreen tropical rainforests grow. These are rich in palm trees and host a variety of epiphytic orchids and ferns.
Wildlife is depleted as the forests disappear. Among the larger mammals that belong here are notably several oxen: banteng, gaur, (wild) water buffalo and cowprey, all of which are very rare today; also several deer, Indian elephant, tiger, leopard, Asian wild dog, wild boar, black-legged costume monkey (Pygathrix bieti), mouse gibbon (Hylobates pileatus), macaques and langur. The bird fauna is rich; Typical groups are pheasants, pigeons, kingfishers, drongos, minivets, bulbils and timalias. The large areas of lowland that are flooded annually around the country’s rivers and Tônl谷 Sap are utilized partly by large quantities of fish that eat plant material and partly by many species of waterfowl, for example. herons, pelicans and ducks.
In 2010, there were 46 major nature conservation areas in Cambodia, seven of which were national parks. All areas were protected only in 1993. The largest of the national parks were Virachey (3 320 km2) and Botum-Sakor (1,710 km2).
Cambodia – Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia; 1. 5 million residents (2010), but the statistical data is very uncertain. Phnom Penh, located where the Tônlé Sap River flows into the Mekong, has a significant river port. At least 2. 5 million people lived here in the early 1970s, but since the Red Khmer conquered the city in 1975, most of the population was moved for ideological reasons and for the sake of livelihood, the industries were destroyed and the university closed.
In the latter part of the 1980s, a restoration was begun. Textile, food and rubber products have started, and private small businesses have become commonplace. Universities and other higher education are expanding, and Phnom Penh’s population is now increasing very rapidly.
According to tradition, Phnom Penh became the capital of 1434 since Angkor fell for the Siamese. As king’s seat it was later replaced by Lovek (from 1525) and Oudong (from 1620), but retained an important role. In 1863, the French government decided to re-establish Phnom Penh as a royal seat, and the city has – apart from the 1975 Khmer regime of the Red Khmer – subsequently been the center of the country. Phnom Penh has a very strong element of Chinese and Vietnamese.