An Inquiry to the Philippines Biological Diversity. RE-BLOGGED: Status and trends of biodiversity (https://www.cbd.int)
Biological Diversity in the Philippines The Philippines has an undeniably wide array of species. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (https://www.cbd.int), the country is in fact one of the 18 mega-biodiverse countries in the world as it contains two-thirds of the earth’s biodiversity and between 70% and 80% of the world’s plant and animal species. While in the number of plant species, it is consistent on being on the fifth spot maintaining 5% of the world’s flora. Species endemism is very high, covering at least 25 genera of plants and 49% of terrestrial wildlife, while the country ranks fourth in bird endemism. The Philippines is also one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots with at least 700 threatened species, thus making it one of the top global conservation areas. The national list of threatened faunal species was established in 2004 and includes 42 species of land mammals, 127 species of birds, 24 species of reptiles and 14 species of amphibians.
In terms of fishes, the Philippines counts at least 3,214 species, of which about 121 are endemic and 76 threatened. In 2007, an administrative order issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources established a national list of threatened plant species, indicating that 99 species were critically endangered, 187 were endangered, 176 vulnerable as well as 64 other threatened species. This unique biodiversity is supported by a large variety of ecosystems, landscapes and habitats, most of which are also greatly threatened by human activities.
According to the FAO definition, the Philippines has 7.2 million ha of forest ecosystems, comprising approximately 24% of the total land area. It is however estimated that, between 2000 and 2005, the Philippines lost 2.1% of its forest cover annually, representing the second fastest rate of deforestation in Southeast Asia (second to Myanmar) and seventh in the world. The country’s agricultural ecosystem is also noteworthy. The Philippines is part of the center of diversity of rice, coconut, mung bean, taro and yam, as well as the center of origin and diversity of bananas in Southeast Asia. Yet this agricultural biodiversity is nowadays experiencing general decline, as is the land area devoted to these activities.
The trend is similar for inland water biodiversity, with findings indicating a decreasing trend in water quality, fish, biodiversity and cultural value in the country’s largest lake (Laguna de Bay) and its tributary rivers. The Philippines presents unique coastal, marine and island biodiversity. It is indeed located within the Coral Triangle, at the center of highest marine biodiversity. A study conducted in 2005 noted that there is a higher concentration of species per unit area in the country than anywhere in Indonesia and Wallacea. Yet this ecosystem is also greatly at risk. While the 2005 review of the state of the marine and coastal environment indicated an increase in the mangrove cover, reef cover, seagrass cover and fishery production are nowadays decreasing substantially.
The Philippines derives large benefits from ecosystems. In particular, the country recognizes the important role played by watersheds, river basins and coastal areas in the environment and in society as a source of livelihood (supporting fisheries, recreation and tourism and many other activities). For instance, a watershed with adequate forest cover provides water that supports lowland agriculture, prevents soil erosion and siltation of coasts and water bodies, and sustains the supply of surface and groundwater for domestic use. Likewise, the forest ecosystem provides ecological services that benefit agriculture, industries, water and power needs. Production forest areas for tree plantations and agroforestry activities are sources of jobs and revenues, with agriculture having represented 18.4% of the country’s GDP in 2007.
For more information about the benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services you can click here. Enjoy exploring! 🙂
Curious about the Implementing Rules of the Philippines about Waste Management? Read More: 9003: Waste Management in the Philippines