Philippine Biodiversity: Status and Threats

Biodiversity as defined in the UNCBD is “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part”. Biodiversity consists of variety of species, their genetic make-up, and the communities or population for which they belong.

The Philippines is considered as one of the megadiverse country in the world. Considering 7,100 islands, the Philippines has many endemic species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater, and invertebrates. The table below shows the number and percent endemism of each taxonomic group:

Taxonomic Group

Species

Endemic Species

Percent Endemism

Plants

9,253

6,091

65.8

Mammals

167

102

61.1

Birds

535

186

34.8

Reptiles

237

160

67.5

Amphibians

89

76

85.4

Freshwater Fishes

281

67

23.8

Source: Conservation International (2007). Biodiversity Hotspots - Philippines. Accessed from
http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/xp/hotspots/philippines/pages/biodiversity.aspx last Oct.4, 2011

The above species inhabits the country’s varied ecosystems and habitats as follows:         Back to top

       Agricultural Biodiversity
       Dry and Sub-Humid Lands
       Forest and Mountain Biodiversity
       Inland Waters Biodiversity
       Coastal, Marine and Island Biodiversity
       Karst and Caves

Source: DENR-PAWB (2011). Ecosystems / Habitats. Accessed from
http://www.chm.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67&Itemid=85
last October 28, 2011

However, the country was regarded as one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world. This means the country is one of the world's biologically richest but has the most threatened ecosystems. For the past decades, natural and anthropogenic causes has cost the country considerable number of species. Among the most notably known threats are as follows:

      Destruction of habitat due to illegal logging, mining, quarrying, or kaingin making;
      Water and air pollution;
       Oils spills;
       Wildlife poaching and illegal trade;
       Introduction of invasive species; including
       Pest and diseases;

As per IUCN Red List 2011 there are 38 species of fauna and 55 flora species that are critically endangered. Among those critically endangered (CR) or those that has extremely high risk of extinction in the wild as per IUCN criteria were as follows:         Back to top

Source: IUCN Red list (2011). Search database. Accessed from 2011.
http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search/link/4eaa46f4-087a0212 last October 28, 2011.

This means that the above species fell to one or more IUCN criteria of critically endangered species as follows:

  Population reduction of at least 50% over the last 10 years or 3 generations
  Extent of occurrence estimated to be less than 5000km2 or area or occupancy estimated to be less than 500km2
  Population estimated to number less than 2500 mature individuals

On the other hand, IUCN Red List (2011) showed that there are 81 fauna and 35 flora species  that are endangered or those that have very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future. This includes the following species:         Back to top

Source: IUCN Red List (2011). Search database.
Accessed from http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search/link/4eaa4b68-364268ed last October 28, 2011

This means that each particular taxa has:         Back to top

  A population reduction of at least 50% over the last 10 years or 3 generations
  Extent of occurrence estimated to be less than 5000km2 or area or occupancy estimated to be less than 500km2
  Population estimated to number less than 2500 mature individuals

Lastly, vulnerable species or those species that has very high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium term future, has a recorded 347 fauna species and 132 flora species.  Among of which are as follows:

Source: IUCN Red List (2011). Search database.
Accessed from http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search/link/4eaa4c2e-03b5ab19 last October 28, 2011

Among the criteria for species to be categorized as vulnerable as per IUCN Red List are as follows:         Back to top

  Population reduction of at least 20% over the last 10 years or 3 generations
  Extent of occurrence estimated to be less than 20,000km2 or area or occupancy estimated to be less than 2000km2
  Population estimated to number less than 10,000 mature individuals

For more details on the IUCN Red List Categories you may visit http://www.iucnredlist.org/.