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Ecological Roles, Uses, and Conservation Status

A.C. Alcala1, E.L. Alcala1, I.E. Buot Jr.2, A. Diesmos3, M.L. Dolar4
, . .

1 Silliman University-Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management, 2/F SU Marine Lab.,
Silliman Beach, Dumaguete City, 6200
of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baos,
2 Institute
College, 4031 Laguna
3 National Museum of the Philippines, Padre Burgos Ave., Ermita, Manila
4 Tropical Marine Research for Conservation, 6363 Lakewood St., San Diego, CA 92122, USA

5 Department of Forest Biological Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the
Philippines Los Baos, College, 4031 Laguna
6 Animal Biology Division, Institute of Biological Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences, and Museum of
Natural History, University of the Philippines Los Baos, College, 4031 Laguna
7 Haribon Foundation, 140 Kalayaan Ave, Diliman, Quezon City

The Philippines is a
mega-biodiversity center
of the world

Insular nature, equable and

tropical conditions
9 Geographic isolation with sea
9 Diverse microhabitats
9 Mountain areas with high
endemism rates
9 Rise of sea level to 120m after
lowest level 18,000-20,000 yr Pleistocene Ice-age islands
ago was attained 6,000 yr ago of the Philippines
importance of biodiversity
9 Variety of human uses --
medicines, food, natural
products, source of income
9 Promotes/stabilizes natural
productivity of ecosystems
9 Sources of genetic material for

i Specific information included in

discussion of various taxonomic groups
presentation deals with the following
taxonomic groups:
Flowering Plants and Ferns
-- E.S. Fernando, I.E. Buot
-- A.C. Alcala
Amphibians and Reptiles
-- A.C. Alcala, A. Diesmos
-- J.C. Gonzalez
--L.M.Dolar, E.L.Alcala, B.Tabaranza
Flowering Plants
by E.S. Fernando
Department of Forest Biological Sciences
College of Forestry and Natural Resources
University of the Philippines Los Baos
Plants are the primary
producers and provide the habitat
for many ecosystems.
Plants are an
source for us
and our wildlife.
Ptenochirus jagori feeding
on fruits of Ficus nota

Plants have great

importance and
Plants play a key role in maintaining
the basic ecological balance and
ecosystem stability.

Plants provide ecological goods

and services, i.e.
clean air, potable water, fertile soils.
Estimated number of species of plants (including
algae, fungi, & lichens) currently known from the Philippines
Estimated Number of Endemic
Plant Group Species Species
Angiosperms 8,120 5,800 (71%)
Gymnosperms 33 6 (18%)
Pteridophytes 1,100 285 (26%)
Bryophytes 1,271 195 (15%)
Algae 1,355 ?
Fungi, slime molds, ?
& water molds 3,555
Lichens 789 ?
(data from Gruezo 1979; DENR-UNEP 1997; Villareal & Fernando 2000; Barcelona 2002)
Fernando et al. (2006)
Threatened plants of the Philippines
(2005 assessment by the Philippine Plant Conservation Committee)

Plant Group CR EN VU OTS OWS PE Categories
Angiosperms 85 142 124 56 71 2 480

Gymnosperms - 9 2 - - - 11

Pteridophytes 9 35 51 8 99 1 203

Bryophytes - 2 - - - - 2
All Taxonomic 94 188 177 64 170 3
Groups 696

CR - Critically Endangered; EN - Endangered; VU- Vulnerable; OTS - Other Threatened Species;

OWS - Other Wildlife Species; PE - Possibly Extinct.
Fernando et al. (2006)
areas rich in plant species, large number of endemic species,
diverse range of habitats.
1 Sierra Madre Mountains 11 Southern Samar 7
Luzon Island Samar Island
12 Mt Guiting-guiting 2
2 Mt Pulag Luzon Island
Sibuyan Island 1
3 Mt Arayat Luzon Island 13 Mt Kanlaon Negros Island 3
14 Mt Talinis + Lake Balinsayao 4
4 Mt Makiling Luzon Island 5 6
Negros Island*
8 12
5 Lobo, Batangas 9
15 Mt Baloy Panay Island* 11
Luzon Island* 15
6 Mt Isarog Luzon Island 16 Mt Kitanglad Mindanao Island 10
7 Mt Iraya Batan Island 17 Agusan Marsh Mindanao Island 1617
8 Mt Halcon Mindoro Island* 18 Mt Apo Mindanao Island

9 Coron Island
10 Palawan Island
Fernando et al. (2006)
Cox 1988, DENR-UNEP 1997
Priority Areas
for Plants
Plant Areas
Based on presence of endangered
species, endemism and taxon
richness, habitat diversity, degree
of exploration

Fernando et al. (2006)

Philippine Ferns
Non Seed-bearing Vascular Plants

by I.E. Buot Jr.

Institute of Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
University of the Philippines Los Baos
1100 species
144 genera
39 families
(Barcelona 2002)

Buot (2006)
Fourty-nine (49) species are
(Tan et al 1986, Madulid 2000)

slash and burn farming
over collection

Buot (2006)
All the 26 endemic
Cyathea species are
vulnerable or potentially
(Madulid 2000)

Trunks of Cyathea
spp. harvested for
Ornamental Use
Buot (2006)
Cyathea croziers
harvested from Mt. Mayon
as Teddy bears

Lycopodium spp.
collected from the
forests of Quezon Buot (2006)
from the
wilderness of
Quezon, Laguna,
Albay, etc

Buot (2006)
Why Conserve the ferns
and their allies?
(Zamora and Co 1986)

Buot (2006)
Philippine Freshwater &
Marine Fishes
by A.C. Alcala
Silliman University - Angelo King
Center for Research and Environmental Management
Silliman Beach, Dumaguete City
Freshwater Fishes
Flock of

result of explosive evolution of

18 species
5 genera Cyprinus carpio

17 species in 4 genera are endemic

-George Myers (1959)

Probably, only 3-4 species Exist!

A.C. Alcala (2006)

Marine Fishes
69 species
4 Families

Carangidae Lutjanidae Lethrinidae

A.C. Alcala (2006)
The top
carnivorous fish is
first to disappear and
last to appear
in exploitedreefs

A.C. Alcala (2006)

The carrying capacity is probably reached for
Species richness
but not for Biomass
30 35
Diversity Biomass

25 30

y = -0.0493x2 + 2.0024x + 3.0381


Recovery is 20 R2 = 0.9692


slow and only when 15


protected 10

5 y = 0.0781x2 - 0.0234x + 0.5005 5

R2 = 0.9777

0 0
0 5 10 15 20 25

Years of Protection

Recovery of top carnivorous fish

in 4 Families in MPAs
(source: B Stockwell, APCRS 2006)

A.C. Alcala (2006)

The original species
richness before
intense exploitation is unknown.

MPAs are useful to

show patterns of
recovery on
coral reefs only
-- slow, decades

A.C. Alcala (2006)

Philippine Amphibians
and Reptiles
by A.C.Alcala1 and A.Diesmos2
1Silliman University - Angelo King
Center for Research &
Environmental Management
Silliman Beach, Dumaguete City

2NationalMuseum of the Philippines

Padre Burgos Ave., Ermita, Manila
Estimated number of species of amphibians
in the Philippines

Amphibian # Species # in Forest

Caecilians 3 3 100.0 %
Frogs & Toads 99 84 84.9 %
TOTAL 102 87 85.3 %

More than 100 species, will increase with refinements

in systematics
7 Families, mostly Ranids & Rhacophorids
Up to 63% determined to be near threatened to
AC Alcala & A Diesmos (2006)
Estimated number of species of reptiles
in the Philippines

Reptile # Species # in Forest

Lizards 107 82 76.6 %
Snakes 85 62 72.9 %
Turtles 3 2 66.7 %
Crocodiles 2 1 50.0 %
TOTAL 197 147 74.6 %
14 Families
Lizards & snakes are predominant
15 Species of sea snakes (Hydrophiids)
are excluded
AC Alcala & A Diesmos (2006)
85% of the Amphibians and 75% of the Reptiles
are associated with Forests.

- indicators of climate change
- 28 to 63% Threatened to Critically Endangered
Reptiles - Probably 30% Threatened to Endangered
AC Alcala & A Diesmos (2006)
Our study in SW Negros shows 20% species
locally extinct in 50-60 years
(Alcala, E. et al. 2004, Environmental Conservation journal)

Key Activity for conservation:

Protected areas by local stakeholders
Role of large species of Amphibians &

Reptiles: nutrient cycling, leather industry

AC Alcala & A Diesmos (2006)
Philippine Birds
by J.C. Gonzalez
Animal Biology Division, Institute of Biological Sciences
College of Arts & Sciences, and Museum of Natural History
University of the Philippines Los Baos
Philippines is a global
hotspot for
AVIAN diversity and endemism.

576 species
192 are endemic
(Collar et al., 1999)

JC Gonzalez (2006)
At least 5 new species recently described
Bukidonon Woodcock (Scolopax bukidnonensis)
Calayan Rail (Gallirallus calayanensis)
Camiguin Hanging Parrot (Loriculus camiguinensis)
Linas Sunbird (Aethopyga linarabori)
Pygmy Frogmouth (Batrachostomus pygmaeus)

JC Gonzalez (2006)
Taxonomy of Philippine Birds
Divided into two groups
Morphological (Gill 1990)
Biochemical Systematics (Sibley & Monroe 1991)
Checklist follows two sources
Kennedy et al., 2000 - 572 species
BirdLife International - 576 species
JC Gonzalez (2006)
Threatened Philippine Bird Species
Year 1988 1994 1999 2006
Critical 49 16 13 13
Endangered 32 13 12
Vulnerable 45 43 43
Data Deficient - 4 4
Near-threatened 40 48 49 56
Collar & BirdLife
Collar et al Collar et al

JC Gonzalez (2006)
Extinct or Extirpated Birds
Some species are likely to be extinct, having not
been recorded for several years.
Negros Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus arcanus)
-not seen since 1953
Sulu Bleedingheart (Gallicolumba menagei)
-not seen since 1891
Cebu Flowerpecker was reported extinct in
1901, but was rediscovered in 1992
JC Gonzalez (2006)
Extinct or Extirpated Birds
Two subspecies are known to be
functionally extinct

Ticao Tarictic Hornbill

(Penelopides panini ticaensis)
Siquijor Hanging Parrot
(Loriculus philippensis siquijorensis)

JC Gonzalez (2006)
Major Threats
Habitat loss & conversion
Collection of secondary forest
Large scale land conversion
Encroachment of permanent &
shifting agriculture (kaingin)
Hunting and Poaching

JC Gonzalez (2006)
Why conserve birds?
rich avifauna and center for global
avian endemism
Biological indicators for diversity and
environmental health
Keystone species and form large
Agents for both pollination and seed dispersal
and controlling pest populations
JC Gonzalez (2006)
Philippine Marine
by M.L. Dolar
Tropical Marine Research for Conservation
6363 Lakewood St., San Diego, California
Marine Mammals
Order Cetacea 26 species
Baleen Whales = 5
Toothed Whales/Dolphins = 21
Toothed Whales/Dolphins
Order Sirenia 1 species
All 26 are threatened!

Sirenia Baleen Whales

ML Dolar (2006)
AllWhales & Dolphins are threatened by
fish nets (gill nets, ring nets, drift nets, etc)
often as by-catch of fishers

ML Dolar (2006)
Rarest and Critically endangered!
Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris)
Only 77 Animals in 2000
Major threat - 70% of 22,878
people in Malampaya Sound
Malampaya Sound -
Protected Seascape since 2000

Geographic distribution
ML Dolar (2006)
Rarest and Critically endangered!
Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris)

Best population estimate: 77 animals (CV= 27.4%)

ML Dolar (2006)
Threats to the Irrawaddy dolphins
1. Burgeoning human population
- 27, 828 people, 70% are fishermen
- growth rate = 6.67% (birth & immigration)

2. Entanglement in fishing nets and

3. Heavy boat traffic
4. Eutrophication

ML Dolar (2006)

Note: IUCN Red Data List

flukes (2000) Threatened
Species - vulnerable to
extinction at a global

DENR Administrative
Order 55 (1991) -
protected dugongs in
Philippine waters

Geographic Distribution

ML Dolar (2006)
Threats to the Dugong Population
1. Fishing nets (e.g. crab nets, hulbot-hulbot)
2. Entrapment in fish pens
3. Blast fishing
4. Habitat degradation
denudation of seagrass beds Hulbot-hulbot

Fish pen Dynamite casualty in 2004

ML Dolar (2006)
Philippine Land
by E.L. Alcala 1 & B. Tabaranza 2
1Silliman University-Angelo King
Center for Research and Environmental Management
2/F SU Marine Lab., Silliman Beach, Dumaguete City, 6200

2Haribon Foundation, 140 Kalayaan Ave

Diliman, Quezon City
Land Mammals
179 species
111 are endemic

EL Alcala1 & B Tabaranza (2006)

Red List Mammals
Threatened Species
Families Species Endemic
Endangered Critical Vulnerable

12 49 45 15 7 27

Thehighest number of endangered

species in terms of per-unit area
Thehighest number of new species

EL Alcala1 & B Tabaranza (2006)

Strategies for Conservation
Strategies for Conservation and for
Preventing Extinction
Establish protected areas
Prevent alien species introduction

No introduction to new habitats

Re-introduction of lost species with

Strategies for Conservation and for
Preventing Extinction
Re-introduction of lost
species with safeguards
Preserve remnants of

original forest, etc.

inventory and
domestication of useful Philippine spotted
deer, fruit bat, and
plants Visayan warty pig
breeding facilities at
Captive breeding Silliman University
Strategies for Conservation and for
Preventing Extinction
Ecotourism Now!

Pamilacan Island, Bohol

Summary & Conclusions
Summary of Conservation Status
Threatened to Critically
Taxonomic Species Endangered as of 2006
Group Richness
Species % of total Species % of total

Plants 10,524 6,286 59.73 696 16.6

18, ca 4
still 17 94.1 4 100
Amphibians 102 76(?) ca 75 29(?) ca 28-63
197 138(?) ca 70 40(?) ca 20%(?)

Birds 192 33% 128 22

26 - - 26 (1) 100 (4)
179 111 ca 67.4% 49 27
Note: Numbers for land vertebrates are approximate
Total of 1,054 land vertebrates in 30 million hectares of land, but new systematics
reveals there will be more additions to total about 1,100.
Summary & Conclusions
The Philippines is indeed a country of very high
biodiversity in terms of species
hot spot because of high rates of habitat
But a
destruction & extinction
20% of amphibians and reptiles locally extinct
in 50-60 years due to forest destruction and
Summary & Conclusions
causes of decrease in abundance are heavy
exploitation and hybridization with domestic
species, e.g. wild pig on Negros, crocodiles
Manyspecies of higher animals are threatened
due to alien species invasion, e.g. Cyprinids of
Lake Lanao
Many plant species are threatened with extinction
for various reasons
Looking to the Future
At the end of the day, in a more
democratic world, it will be the
ethics and desires of the
people, not their leaders, who
give power to government and
the NGOs or take it away. They
will decide and choose
whether particular species will
live or die.

- E.O. Wilson (2002)