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PRESS RELEASE

Issued on (April 17, 2012) For Immediate Release until (April 24, 2012)

New Species of Frogs discovered in the Philippines- Forests of Southern Leyte a Critical Biodiversity Area
A biodiversity resource assessment conducted in Southern Leyte Province in November 2011, resulted in the discovery of at least two new species of frogs and a total of 229 recorded flora species, 31 of which are unique to the country. Despite its infamous reputation of having highly fragmented and degraded forests, this impressive list of fauna and flora demonstrates the under appreciated biodiversity of the Philippines. Whilst the highlight of the assessment is the discovery of the new frog species, it also generated a detailed documentation of new and important information on the ecology and natural history of many species of vertebrates that are endemic to Leyte. The two new species of frogs from Southern Leyte will be unveiled at the Marble Hall of the Museum of the Filipino People on April 17, 2012, 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Mr. Ralph Timmermann, Deputy Head of Mission Federal Republic of Germany Embassy, Dr. Bernd-Markus Liss, Principal Advisor of the International Climate Change projects in the Philippines of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Mr. Jeremy Barns, Director of the National Museum of the Philippines are among the distinguished guests for the event. The biodiversity assessments were conducted by Fauna & FIora International, the National Museum of the Philippines, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and DENR Region 8 on behalf of two projects, namely the Climate relevant modernization of forest policy and Piloting of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in the Philippines Project by DENR-Forest Management Bureau and the German Development Cooperation Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and the New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project (NewCAPP) of the DENR-PAWB, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The study was aimed at generating species inventories and practical information on key species-habitat associations as sound bases for forest and biodiversity management planning.

The month-long ground surveys in Southern Leyte Province (covering the municipalities of Silago, Hinunangan, Sogod, Maasin, Tomas Oppus and Malitbog) recorded a total of 229 floral species (31 of which are unique to the Philippines) and 212 terrestrial vertebrates species, comprising 112 species of birds (41 species are unique to Philippines; 11 of which are threatened to extinction), 36 species of mammals (17 species are unique to the Philippines) and 64 species of amphibians and reptiles (more than half of which are found only in the Philippines). It is anticipated that a significant number of species will be recorded from Southern Leyte with continued field sampling, especially if the surveys are conducted during the drier months of the year and if a wide range of habitat and elevation zones, from lowland Dipterocarp to mossy forests, are sampled in detail. The two newly-discovered forest-obligate species of frogs belong to the genus Platymantis. These species inhabit the montane and mossy forests of the Nacolod Mountain Range in Southern Leyte Province. Both species differ markedly from other known species of Philippine Platymantis frogs by their body size, coloration patterns, and advertisement calls. The two species are allied to two different species groups, the Platymantis guentheri Group and Platymantis hazelae Group. This is the first time that a Platymantis species belonging to the hazelae group has been discovered in Mindanao faunal region, of which the island of Leyte belongs to. Herpetologists from the Philippines and the United States are now working on the formal taxonomic description of the species. The Assessment indicated the general preference of Southern Leytes fauna to forest and riverine environments. The information generated, now provides a baseline that can be used to predict impacts of habitat change on species and to design measures to protect forest biodiversity. For local government units in Southern Leyte, the findings provide the scientific basis in designing appropriate management systems and monitoring protocols useful in protecting forest ecosystems, establishing local forest and biodiversity areas as well as to steer the rehabilitation of forests towards an efficient and more ecologically sound path. For the national Government it will spur forest protection and rehabilitation efforts under the Philippine National REDD-Plus Strategy as part of the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAPP), and the National Greening Program. It is anticipated that a significant number of species will be recorded from Southern Leyte with continued field sampling, especially if the surveys are conducted during the drier months of the year and if a wide range of habitat and elevation zones (from lowland Dipterocarp to mossy forests) are sampled. The discovery of the new species on the fragmented forests of Mt. Nacolod intensifies the potential of REDD-Plus for effective protection and rehabilitation of natural forests and conservation of biodiversity, while benefiting local communities. Greater involvement of LGUs in conserving the biodiversity of Nacolod is expected. The DENR-GIZ REDD Project assists these efforts as part of the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of the German Government. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. The UNDP-GEF NewCAPP on the other hand, is part of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) to increase the capacity of the stakeholders to protect/ enhance the quality of the environment and sustainably manage the natural resources through expanding and strengthening the terrestrial PA system in the Philippine by

developing new conservation models and building capacity for effective management of the system supported by improved systemic and institutional capacities.

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About GIZ GIZ is a federally-owned enterprise that supports the German government in the field of international development cooperation. For more than 30 years now, GIZ has been cooperating with Philippine partners in strengthening the capacity of people and institutions to improve the lives of Filipinos in this generation and generations to come. Together we work to balance economic, social and ecological interests through multi-stakeholder dialogue, participation and collaboration. Most of its activities are commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). GIZ also operates on behalf of other German ministries in particular the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as well as German federal states and municipalities, and public and private sector clients both in Germany and abroad. These include the governments of other countries, the European Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank. About NewCAPP The Project aims to expand and strengthen the terrestrial protected area (PA) system in the Philippines by developing new PA models and building capacity for effective management of the system. This will be supported by improved systemic (especially funding) and institutional (especially management effectiveness) capacities. The expanded PA system will have comprehensive ecological coverage and strong links to local communities and indigenous lands in the surrounding landscape, through the integration of new conservation areas. About Fauna & Flora International Fauna & Flora Internationals work spans across the globe, with over 100 projects in nearly 40 countries, mostly in developing world. We proudly stand up for biodiversity and aim to show just how relevant it is to all those who share the planet.

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Contacts DENR-PAWB Theresita Mundita S. Lim Director-PAWB Email: director@pawb.gov.ph German Development Cooperation-GIZ Dr. Bernd-Markus Liss Principal Advisor BMU Projects- GIZ E bernd-markus.liss@giz.de Fauna & Flora International Dr. Aldrin Mallari Country Director E aldrin.mallari@fauna-flora.org