Ao Phang Nga National Park has a large expanse of mangrove forest so abundant it is said to be the largest expanse of healthy angrove remaining in Thailand. Mangroves have a very important ecological role in the coastal natural resources chain, They act as a buffer zone between land and sea, slowing erosion, and serve as a gene pool for plant species.
The sheltered area of the mangrove forest acts as a nursery for marine species including shrimp, crabs, shellfish, and many species of fish. Important tree species within the mangrove forest include. Rhizophora mucronata (Red Mangrove). R.apiculata, Bruguiera cylindrical, B.gymnorrhiza (Black Mangrove), B.sexangula. Ceriops spp., Kandelia candel. Sonneratia spp., Xylocarpus gramatum, s. moluccen- sis, Avicennia alba, A. marina, Nypa fruticans (A tap Palm), and Canthus embracteatus. (most species have no common names) Around the edge of the coast and found on the islands in Ao Phangnga National Park is moist evergreen forest which can be divided into two types: limestone scrub forest and true evergreen forest.
Along the cliff faces and crevice edges air limestone scrub forest where the roots of cycads, euphorbs, and prickly pears, grip rocks and any secure hold they can find existing on a few inches of soil and/or only water for nutrients, True evergreen forest is found in the valleys of the islands where the soil is deeper, allowing rattans, palms and the taller tree species like Hopea sagal, Pterocarpus indicus, Hydnocarpus ilicifolius, Homalium dictyoneura, Pterospermum acerifolium, Diospyros spp. Grawia hirsuta, Pandanus unicornutus, Arenga wasterhoutli, Caryota mitis, Calamus sp., Cycas pectinata, Boea elegans, and Dichiloboea speciosa to grow In 1991, fauna surveys conducted within Ao Phangnga National Park recorded that Ao Phangnga has no less then 206 Species of mammals including the White-handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar), The Serow (Capricornis sumatra- enis), the Smooth coated otter (Lutrapersplcillata), the Dusky Langur (Presbytisobscura), and the Crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis) of birds there are a total of 88 species, 67 resident and 21 migratory.
The most commonly seen spicies include: the pacific Reef Egret (Egrettasacra).White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeatus leucogaster), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipaimatus). Kingfishers (Halo yon spp.,) Oriental Pied Hornbill, (Anthracoceros aibirostri), and the Edible Nest Swift let (Collacalia fuciphaga), if the less beautiful but neverthele ss still fascinating Asian reptile and amphibian species, attract you, you’ll find:
• The Common water Monitor lizard (Varanus salvator)
• Bengal Monitor lizard (V.bengalensis)
• Common Asiatic skink (Mabuyatasclnate)
• Tree skink (Dasia Olvacea)
• Dog-face Water snake (Cerberus rhynchops)
• House wolf snake (Lycoda capucinus)
• Crab-eating frog (Rana canvcrivoral). Marsh frog (R. limnocharis) and the common bush frog (Rhacophorusleucomystax)
Marine life numbers over 80 species: 24 species of fish, 14 species of shrimp, 15 species of crabs and another 16 species of manta rays, sharks, and game fish. In the bay, you will find blue crabs, swimming crabs, mud-skippers, and humpback shrimp, mud-lobsters, pomfrets, jewfish, sole, anchovies, scad, rock cod, as well as rainbow cuttlefish, soft cuttlefish, musk crab, mackerels, spine foots, groupers, black sea cucumbers, brain coral, staghom coral and lastly flowerlike soft coral.
The bay of Ao Phangnga National Park has an innumerable number of plankton, which are small single-celled plant and animal organisms that serve as food rot many species. The presence of high amounts of plankton is partially due to the shallowness of the water and the corresponding higher temperatures found in the bay area. As the food source is high, this is an ideal nursery for mothers to birth and consequently raise their babies before returning to deeper waters.