PHL biodiversity depleting, says DENR official PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 July 2013 13:18

PAGADIAN CITY — Recent assessment made by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) revealed that of the 24 percent of the total 44,000 square-kilometers of coral reefs of good condition in the Philippines, only two percent remain in excellent condition.

Mussaendra G. Tee, chief, Biodiversity Conservation and Management Section, Protected Areas Wildlife Coastal Zone Management (PAWCZMS), DENR-9 presented during the weekly PIA Media Forum last Thursday that of the original 450,000 hectares of mangrove forests in the country only 149,000 remain untouched.

“But based on the 1995 DENR statistics, these mangrove areas were further reduced to only 117,700 hectares,” Tee added.

She further reported that, “More than half of the country’s wetlands of international importance covering 14,000 square-kilometers are threatened.”

“The country had an estimated 17 million hectares of forest lands in 1935, but now only six million remain intact and only 800,000 hectares of these are old growth,” she reported.

“The Philippines is one of the 18 countries in the world identified as containing 60-70 percent of the world’s biodiversity next only to Brazil, Columbia and Indonesia,” Tee said.

According to Tee, the Philippines ranks fifth in the world in terms of plant species, numbering to more than 8,000; and fourth in bird endemism registering 579 species of bird of which 395 are known to nest and breed in the country. The country is also fifth in mammal endemism.

“The factors that threaten our biodiversity are attributed to man-made and natural disasters such as logging, fires, land conversion, destructive fishing, encroachment/occupancy in protected areas, siltation, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and typhoons,” Tee concluded.