Philippines Moist Forests

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Cadlao Island, Palawan Islands, Philippines.
© WWF-Canon / Vin J. TOLEDO

About the Area

This global ecoregion is made up of 7 terrestrial ecoregions: Mindoro rain forests; Mindanao-Eastern Visayas rain forests; Mindanao montane rain forests; Luzon rain forests; Greater Negros-Panay rain forests; Luzon tropical pine forests; and Luzon montane rain forests.

Outsiders call Mindoro the ‘dark island’. This Philippine island earned this epithet due to a virulent strain of malaria that was once associated with it.

There is high degree of endemism in Philippine birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Of the roughly 12,000 species of plants and fungi, about 3,500 are endemic. There are 172 species of land mammals, of which 111 are endemic.

Size:
280,000 sq. km (110,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

Geographic Location:
Philippine Islands

Conservation Status:
Critical/Endangered

Local Species
Mammals include a forest buffalo called the tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis), Mindoro rat (Anonymomys mindorensis) - found only on the island of Mindoro, and the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta).

Threatened bat species include little golden-mantled fruit bat (Pteropus pumilus), Katanglad fruit bat (Alionycteris paucidentata), and Fischer's pygmy fruit bat (Haplonycteris fischeri).

Among the numerous endemic bird species are Rabor's wren-babbler (Napothera rabori), white-lored oriole (Oriolus albiloris), Isabela oriole (O. isabellae), Rufous paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone cinnamomea), Mindoro imperial-pigeon (Ducula mindorensis), and scarlet-collared flowerpecker (Dicaeum retrocinctum).
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Jürgen FREUND
Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), Philippines.
© WWF-Canon / Jürgen FREUND

Featured Species

 / ©: WWF-Canon / Helmut Diller
Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis)
© WWF-Canon / Helmut Diller
The tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) is one of the world's rarest mammals. It is a small wild buffalo weighing about 300 kg (660 lb). It lives in dense forest with open glades for grazing. It also prefers to be close to water for wallowing. It feeds on grasses, bamboo shoots and aquatic vegetation. Its small size and great strength enables it to push through dense jungle and climb steep mountains. It is usually solitary, although a calf may remain with the mother for a number of years.

The tamaraw was first recorded by Western science in 1888. It has only ever been sighted on the island of Mindoro. The island’s problems with malaria deterred human settlers, allowing the tamaraw freedom to roam the entire island. However, as the human population increased, the tamaraw’s range has diminished to just 2-3 sites and it has also had to adapt to a nocturnal habits to avoid human encounters. The population has declined dramatically, mainly because of hunting and other negative impacts of human settlement. Listed as critically endangered by IUCN, the current population is estimated to be between 30 and 200 individuals.

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Threats
Most of the forests and their species are severely threatened by extensive habitat degradation and loss due to logging, agriculture, soil erosion, and hunting. Regular burning in some areas prevents forest regeneration. Mindoro is now one of the most severely deforested islands in all of the Philippines.

The Philippine warty pig and the Philippine deer suffer from intense hunting and habitat loss, with the warty pig especially endangered because it is considered a pest to farmers.
 / ©: WWF / Albrecht G. SCHAEFER
Private logging of farmers approaches the higher area. Philippines.
© WWF / Albrecht G. SCHAEFER
WWF’s work
WWF-Philippines implements conservation and development projects in 11 provinces and at least 28 towns; from the far north in the Babuyan Islands, to the southernmost tip, the Turtle Islands in Tawi-Tawi. On a nationwide scale, WWF advocates appropriate environmental policies, engages corporations for sustainable business, and conducts environmental education activities in Metro Manila and other key cities and towns.

The field projects of WWF-Philippines support local efforts in coastal resources management, community-based ecotourism, management of protected areas, and environmental law enforcement. WWF's projects on species protection serve as catalytic platforms for a broader coastal management and conservation programme in a number of areas. These include the Irrawaddy dolphin in Malampaya Sound, Palawan, the whaleshark in Donsol, Sorsogon, whales and dolphins in Tanon Strait, Negros Oriental, sea turtles in the Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, the dugong in Roxas, Palawan and the humpback whale in Babuyan Islands.

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