AN OVERVIEW OF PHILIPPINE BIODIVERSITY

BY M. Pareja De La Salle University - Dasmarinas

Biodiversity refers to the totality of life forms and the areas they occupy

Importance of Biodiversity

IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY

Food
More than 90% of the calories consumed by people worldwide come from 80 plant species Fruits, nuts, mushrooms, honey, spices and other foods that human and wildlife consume originate from natural ecosystems. Fish comprises 10% of man’s protein intake. In 1989 the total world fishery catch reached an astounding 100 million metric tons
(since then annual landings have dropped or at best remained the same)

IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY

Medicines
About 80% of the world’s population still use plants as their primary source of medicine.
Close to 30% of all pharmaceuticals on the market today were developed from plants and animals.

IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY

Fuel, timber, Fiber and other resources

Most houses, furniture and even many clothes are made from natural products, including wood, oils, resins, waxes, gums and fibers. The cocoons of silk worms are the basis of the valuable, centuriesold Asian silk-making industry.

IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY

Air and water purification

Forests purify our air and our water by taking in carbon dioxide, regulating water vapor, releasing oxygen, and cycling nutrients.

IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY

Climate modification

IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY

Drought, Erosion and Flood control

IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY

Economic value

IMPORTANCE OF BIODIVERSITY

Social / cultural value

Biodiversity is directly linked with traditional, spiritual and cultural values of people.

Philippine Philippine Biodiversity Biodiversity

105 species of AMPHIBIANS…

…82 species are FOUND ONLY in the Philippines

More than 254 species of Reptiles

…with 208 sp. endemic to the Philippines

BIRDS

We have more than 576 species of birds 200 of these occur only in the Philippines.

Of the 179 species of land mammals, 111 species are found only in the Philippines

Around 20,940 species of insects 69.8% are endemics

estimated 15,000 species, 50% are endemics

70 – 80% Flowering plants

193 Threatened species

INLAND WATERS

211 Lakes, 18 major rivers, 22 marshes, swamps and reservoir
Phil. Wetlands 1616 species of aquatic plants 3675 species of fauna

Mangroves

37 tree species in the world 34 tree species occur in the Philippines

Corals
462 coral species recorded* (an additional 30 species can be expected)

At least 21 undescribed species recently found in the Calamianes Islands, Palawan
12 species are endemic to the Philippines & Indonesia 1 new species of Leptoseris in the Kalayaan Is.

* Highest in the world, followed by Eastern Papua New Guinea with 380 species; Ryukyu / Yaeyama Islands with 370 and Great Barrier Reef, Australia with 350

Fish

about 4,000 species in the Indo-Pacific region
2,177 recorded species in the Philippines (Herre,1953) 1,300 species coral reef and reef-associated species 225 deep sea species 75 open sea – pelagic species

385 estuarine and coastal non-reef associated species
170 freshwater species

Molluscs 22,000 freshwater, land and marine species Nine species of Giant Clams worldwide Seven of these occur in Philippine waters

photos by Evette Lee

Composition and current characteristics of biodiversity in the Philippine Marine environment
(source: DENR, 1997)

Taxon

Number

Economically Important

Threatened

Marine Fungi
Sea Grasses Algae Corals1

7
16 1,062 381 3 531 60

Other Invertebrates
Fish2 Mammals3 Reptiles

1,616
1,831 18 20

152
672 18 20

47
18 20

Total*
1 total

4,951

1,396

145

number of corals found in the Phil. now stands at 462 (Werner and Allen, 2000) 2 total number of fish now is estimated to be over 2,000 species. 3 total number of marine mammals in Philippine waters is now at 23. * Estimated number of species in the Philippine marine environment is over 5,000

Total number of wildlife species in the Philippines
Major Taxa Amphibians Reptiles Birds Mammals

No. of Species
101+ 82+ (78%) 258+ 170+ (66%) 576+* 74 204+** 51 1139+ 157

Endemic Species 24
8

Threatened Species

195+ (34%) 111+ (54%)

Total

558+ (50%)

COUNTRY

Total species

Endemic Species

% Endemic

Land Area (km2)

Philippines Spain Brazil
Source: Heaney, 2002

1139 435 3131

558 25 788

50% 6% 25%

300,780 451,171 8,511,965

Some Notable Flora and Fauna Species in Philippines Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) – world’s 2nd largest eagle King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) 2 Largest Bats in the world: Golden-crowned Flying Fox (Acerodon jubatus) & Large Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus) Rafflesia– world’s largest flower – largest terrestrial venomous snake Slow loris (Nycticebus coucang) & Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) – smallest primitive primates

Reticulated python (Python Mouse deer (Tragulus napu) – one reticulatus) – Largest / longest snake of the smallest deer in the world Phil. Iron Wood, Magkuno (Xanthostemon verdugonianus) – hardest wood

Some Notable Flora and Fauna Species in Philippines Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) – world’s largest fish Giant Manta Ray (Manta birostris) – world’s largest ray

Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) – world’s largest living reptile
Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) – largest of all sea turtles Dugong (Dugong dugon) – only herbivorous marine mammal in the Philippines

Some Notable Flora and Fauna Species in Philippines Giant Clam (Tridacna gigas) – world’s largest giant clam species

Boring Clam (Tridacna crocea) – smallest giant clam species
Porcelain Clam (Hippopus porcellanus) – rarest giant clam species Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) – largest toothed cetacean Killer whale (Orcinus orca) – largest dolphin species Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) – smallest of all baleen whales

The Origin of Life
formation of Earth LIFE: bluegreen algae Akinetes: cellular differentiation Hard-bodied marine invertebrates

5,000 million years
4,600 MYA 3,600 MYA
Land Invertebrates, land plants, Amphibians bony fishes Gymnosperms Spiders & insects

2,300 MYA

570 MYA 500

million years

Jawless fish Agnathans

First Reptiles

Radiation of First Mammals Dinosaurs, Mass Archaeopteryx first true extinction of mammals First birds Dinosaurs

500 million years
500 MYA 400 370 350 MYA MYA MYA Australopithecus afaransis 300 MYA 200 MYA Homo habilis first species of genus Homo 140 MYA 100 MYA Homo erectus closest to moden humans 65 MYA

5 million years Homo sapiens modern man 30,000 years ago

5 million years
4 MYA 2 MYA 1 MYA

Why is Philippine Biodiversity so rich?

SE Asia Reconstructions 50-0 Ma

© Robert Hall 1995

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Present configuration

Philippine Biogeography

Amidst all of these, globally
816 species became extinct in the last 500 years
11,046 threatened species face a high risk of extinction
4,595 species are on the brink of moving into one of the threatened categories

Critically Endangered (CR) Mammals Birds Reptiles Amphibia Fishes Molluscs Other Inverts Sub-Total Plants TOTAL

Endangered (E)

Vulnerable (V)

TOTAL

7 12 3 7 16 1 1 47 44 91

14 13 4 6 2 0 6 45 29 74

32 43 1 11 11 2 10 110 143 253

53 68 8 24 29 3 17 202 216 418

Extent of Forest Cover Loss in the last 100 years

Less than 6% of the country’s original forest remains!

Source: Environmental Science for Social Change, 1999

Estimates place forest cover in 1900 at 21 million has. (210,000 km2) or 70% of the total land area.

Many areas were already heavily damaged by this time in the Central Cordilleras and Ilocos by local action, while the Spanish were responsible for the cutting of the much valued molave of the Central Visayas and the conversion of the marsh lands of Pangasinan and Culion which was reportedly already bald

The Americans introduced logging for export.

Forest still covered 18 million hectares (180,000 km2) or 60% of the total land area but the forests were under pressure because of the great demand for tropical hardwood for export to the U.S. Between 1900 and 1920, Romblon Island was completely deforested; the Central Plains of Luzon were also cleared, while Northen Bukidnon and Cotabato were opened up.

By 1950 estimates place forest cover at 15 million hectares (150,000 km2) or 50% of the total land area. Since 56% of the Philippines is classified as upland, the threshold in sustainable management was crossed in the 1945-50 period.

FAO, 1963 put forest cover at 12 million hectares (120,000 km2) or 40% of the total land area. The late 1960s is considered the start of a logging boom period. Logging concession areas increased from 4.5 million hectares to 11.6 million hectares.

Forest covered 34% of the total land area or 10.2 million hectares (102,000 km2). From 1977 to 1980, deforestation reached an all time high- over 300,000 hectares a year. By the end of the 1970s, the following islands were either almost completely deforested or had less than 5% forest cover: Polillo, Burias, Palaui, Tablas, Batanes Islands, Lubang, Marinduque, Ticao, Guimaras, Masbate, Siquijor, Cebu, Bohol, Samal, Siargao, Tawi-Tawi, Jolo and Camiguin. The Philippine forest was rapidly disappearing.

The Swedish Space Corporation (SPOT) study of 1987 place forest cover at 6.9 million hectares (69,000 km2) or 23.7% of the total land area. There were 2.7 million (27,000 km2) hectares or 8.9% of the total land area of primary forest and this included mossy and pine forest.

The Swedish Space Corporation (SPOT) study of 1987 place forest cover at 6.9 million hectares (69,000 km2) or 23.7% of the total land area. There were 2.7 million (27,000 km2) hectares or 8.9% of the total land area of primary forest and this included mossy and pine forest.

(km2)

300,000 250,000

Land area (300,000 km2) Spanish colonization (270,000 km2)

(400 years)

200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 0 1400 1500

American colonization (210,000 km2) (50 years)

Philippine Independence (150,000 km2)

(40 years)
Post EDSA Revolution (8,000 km2)

1900

1950

1990

YEAR
Extent of Original Forest Cover in the Philippines

Forest loss on Negros

1875

1949

1970

1987

1992

Status of Philippine Mangroves
1918 The Philippines had an estimated 450,000 hectares of mangroves (Brown and Fisher, 1920)

1990 139,725 hectares (31.05%)
1993 138,000 hectares (30.67%) 1995 only 117,000 hectares (26%) remain (DENR,1995) The loss is largely attributed to the conversion of mangroves to fishponds Other factors include reclamation for residential, commercial & industrial purposes and excessive harvesting of trees for fuel

Coral Reefs of the World

Throughout the world’s oceans, coral reefs cover approximately 617,000 square km (Smith, 1978) of the Earth - sounds a lot, but in fact this only represents about 1/6 of ONE percent of the marine environment.

Philippine Coral Reef Area

Covers an estimated area of 30,000 sq km (McManus,2002) Roughly 5% of the world coral reef coverage

Status of Philippine Coral Reefs
Source: Aliño et al., 2002

Phil. Reefs 5% 25 % 38 % 32 %
based on
Live Coral Cover 76 – 100 % 51 - 75 % 26 - 50 % 0 - 25 %

Condition Excellent Good Fair Poor
Condition Excellent Good Fair Poor

* the LOWEST in South East Asia!!!

What are the threats to Philippine biodiversity?
Picture soure: Internet

LOGGING

TIMBER POACHING

DEFORESTATION
UPLAND AGRICULTURE FOREST FIRE

DEFORESTATION

ROAD DEVELOPMENT

DEFORESTATION

MINING

POLLUTION

ILLEGAL FISHING DESTRUCTIVE FISHING PRACTICES

Picture soure: Internet

ELECTRO-FISHING

DYNAMITE FISHING

CYANIDE FISHING

UNSUSTAINABLE HUNTING and GATHERING OF WILDLIFE

ILLEGAL TRADE

SILTATION/SEDIMENTATION

Introduced Species

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”
-Baba Dioum, a Senegalese conservationist

Some Conclusions
1. Biodiversity refers to all variety of living things including man. 2. Biodiversity existed millions of years before man, who appeared only in the last 30,000 years. Even without man, the earth and biodiversity can take care of themselves. But man cannot survive without them.

3. Some biodiversity had existed and became extinct in the natural way. Man has facilitated the extinction of several species.

Some Conclusions 4. The Philippines unique ancient geological history, the last ice age event and the tropical location contributed to the extraordinarily high species richness and endemic biodiversity. 5. Deforestation (habitat loss) is the most rapid in the world. 6. Man is the problem. Man is the solution.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO NOW? Who’s responsibility is it protect and conserve biodiversity?

Maraming Salamat Po!

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