Leaving Laos. . .
Despite a small population, undeveloped mineral deposits, and forest covering nearly 70 percent of the country, Lao's forests are threatened. Slash-and-burn agriculture, uncontrolled fires, commercial and illegal logging, and fuelwood collection resulted in the loss of 6.8 percent of the country's forests between 1990 and 2005. The deforestation rate has increased moderately since the close of the 1990s, but there is concern that the shift from a command economy toward a market-oriented economy will put increasing pressure on the forest resources of Laos.
Photo taken from the airplane at altitude of 9 km. The Mekong River is one of the world’s major rivers. Its estimated length is 4,350 km. Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia and the thickly forested landscape consists mostly of rugged mountains, the highest of which is Phou Bia at 2,817 m. The Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand, whereas the mountains of the Annamite Chain form most of the eastern border with Vietnam.
Despite these hurdles, there is hope for conservation in Laos. In an effort to protect the country's species richness, Laos recently established 18 National Biodiversity Conservation Areas including one known as Nakai Nam Theum National Biodiversity Area in the mountainous border area near Vietnam. During the 1990s researchers in this protected area discovered a new genus of cattle-like mammal along with two deer-like species.