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THREATS TO PHILIPPINE BIODIVERSITY

Overview of Philippine Biodiversity Loss


Though the Philippines is mega-diverse in
terms of biological diversity, it is also
considered a mega-hotspot due to the rapid
loss of biodiversity in the country.
Most of our endemic flora and fauna are
disappearing due to the indiscriminate and
excessive use of our natural resources.
We have learned that the Philippines has one of the
highest number of endemic species in the world,
thus contributing much to worldwide species
diversity.
Ironically, it ranks third in the world in terms of the
number of globally threatened species. It also has
the highest number of endangered species.

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
The Vanishing Endemic Species: Threats to
Extinction
The Philippines has the most endangered
species in single country endemics.

Let us take a look at the different factors


that caused this alarming state in
Philippine species diversity.

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
There are two kinds of extinction or disappearance of
a certain species:
(1) natural extinction and
(2) human-induced extinction.
Natural extinction results from physical and
biological changes in the environment.
Physical changes are effects of events such as
natural calamities (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions,
typhoons) or natural geographical changes
(gradual sinking of an island, gradual soil erosion).
Biological changes may be the result of natural
processes occurring among species like predation
and competition.

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Human-induced extinction, on the other hand, are disturbances caused by
human activities. Examples are:
Habitat loss and degradation/ encroachment on habitats (e.g. logging, kaingin,
real estate development, and conversion of mangrove areas into fishponds).
Direct exploitation (e.g over-use of timber, over-harvesting of fisheries
products, hunting and wildlife trade).
Introduction of exotic/invasive species (e.g golden kuhol, janitor fishes, and
bullfrogs)
Pollution (e.g chemicals from pesticides and fertilizers, carbon monoxide from
vehicles, non-biodegradable materials like plastic. All of these pollutants affect
biodiversity).
Global warming and climate change (e.g El Nio and La Nia).
Use of illegal fishing methods (e.g dynamite, cyanide, and muro-ami).

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Categories of Threats: IUCN Red List
Categories
Using the definitions from the IUCN Red
List Categories, we can identify if species
are extinct, endangered or vulnerable.

Extinct Category
Extinct (EX) This is used when the last individual of a species is very
likely to have died or have disappeared on earth.
Extinct in the Wild (EW) This is used when the only representatives of the
taxon are found in captivity or under human-controlled conditions.

T-rex

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Threatened Category
Critically Endangered (CR) The taxon is
considered to be facing an extremely
high risk of extinction in the wild in the
immediate future.
Endangered (EN) The taxon is not
Critical but is considered to be facing a
very high risk of extinction in the wild in
the near future.
Vulnerable (VU) The taxon is neither
Critical nor Endangered but is
considered to be facing a high risk of
extinction in the wild in the medium term
future.

Rhinoceros

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Lower Extinction Risk Categories
Near Threatened (NT) The taxon is likely to
qualify for a threatened category in the near
future.
Least Concern (LC) The taxon is widespread and
abundant.
Others
Data Deficient (DD) The taxons distribution
and/or population status are unknown or
inadequately documented, and assessment of
extinction risk is not possible. DD is not a category
of threat.
Not Evaluated (NE) Taxon has not yet been
evaluated.

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Vanishing Habitats: Threats to Ecosystem
The geological structure and geographical
location of the Philippines have blessed it with
so many natural habitats, some of which have
remained unspoiled.
However, due to over-exploitation of our
natural resources, the condition of these
habitats has steadily declined over the years.
In order to help mitigate the worsening
conditions of our habitats, we should study the
different threats and their root causes so that
these may be addressed.

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Threats to forest ecosystems
logging (both legal and illegal)
conversion of forest land into agricultural
plantation and human settlements
fuelwood gathering
exploitation of non-wood products including
wildlife
invasion of alien species

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Threats to Grassland ecosystems
fire
land conversion
invasion of alien species (rodents and weeds)
overgrazing
soil erosion
Threats to Agricultural Ecosystems
soil erosion
chemical pollution (excessive use of fertilizers)
occurrence of pests due to mono-cropping
invasion of alien species

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Threats to Urban Ecosystems
pollution
over-exploitation of resources
Threats to Freshwater Ecosystems
pollution/ chemical contamination from domestic,
municipal, industrial and agricultural sources
over-exploitation of aquatic resources
extensive aquaculture development
sedimentation from upstream sources
human settlements

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Threats to Mangrove Ecosystems
conversion to fishponds/ saltbeds
deforestation
pollution
industrial expansion and development
human settlements

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Threats to Seagrass Ecosystems
siltation/ sedimentation
pollution
habitat destruction due to the development of coastal areas for tourism, human settlements
and aquaculture
Threats to Coral Reef Ecosystem
siltation/ sedimentation/ run-offs
over-fishing
use of destructive fishing methods (dynamite, cyanide poisoning)
pollution
harvesting of corals
unregulated coastal area development

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Threats to Soft-bottom Ecosystem
pollution
climate change

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
Underlying Causes of the Loss of Philippine Biodiversity
(1) Overpopulation
The increasing population is one of the underlying causes of biodiversity
loss and environmental degradation.
This has increased the demands for natural resources resulting in overexploitation and in some cases, extinction of some elements of
biodiversity.

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
(2) Poverty
Most human activities that threaten biodiversity are related to livelihood and economics.
I
n the Philippines, where unequal distribution of wealth has led to increasing pressure on
resources, exploitation of resources has become a way of life.
Unless the economic needs of the people are addressed, the natural environment will
continue to be exploited.
(3) Apathy
Disregard for environmental degradation and biodiversity loss is usually
caused by lack of awareness and knowledge of the implication of these
issues on ones personal life.
For this reason advocacy and educational campaigns on biodiversity and the
environment should bring down abstract issues to easily understandable
levels so that people can relate to them.

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE BIODIVERSITY


(4)Conflicting laws and policies and poor law enforcement
The Philippines has the most number and best written environmental laws that
ideally would have protected our natural resources.
Beautifully written as they are, most laws related to environmental conservation
have provisions that conflict with each other ( e.g IPRA NIPAS; Mining Act IPRA).
Aside from these conflicts, these laws are not properly enforced or not
implemented at all. This aggravates the dwindling status of our biodiversity
because the laws that were supposed to protect it become useless in the end.

THREATS TO PHILIPPINE
BIODIVERSITY
(5)Lack of education resulting in low levels of knowledge and
awareness
The lack of appreciation of the Filipinos for their natural environment is a
product of the lack of venue, access and opportunities for environmental
education.
To quote Baba Dioum, a Senegalese conservationist, In the end, we will
conserve only what we have, we will love only what we understand, and we
will understand only what we are taught.