Biosphere Reserves

Puerto Galera Biosphere Reserve

Year of designation: 1977

Puerto Galera Biosphere Reserve is situated on Mindoro Island, about 120 kilometers south of Manila. Its 23,200 hectares make up the northern tip of Mindoro Island and are bounded to the north by the Verde Island Passage, to the west by the Camarong River and to the east by the municipality of San Teodoro. Ecosystems represented here are savannas and grasslands, dipterocarp forests, mossy forests, mangrove, coral reefs and coastal ecosystems as well as agroforestry systems. A wide variety of endemic species are present, including tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis). Their traditional source of income used to be fishing and subsistence agriculture. However, after the boom of tourism at the end of the 1970s, the service sector became more and more important. The conservation of coral reefs has been recognized as one of the main tasks of the biosphere reserve since healthy coral reefs are important for the conservation of biodiversity, the maintenance of the traditional lifestyle and culture, tourism revenues, education and research.

Palawan Biosphere Reserve

Year of designation: 1990

The province of Palawan is known as the Philippine’s “last ecological frontier.” The Palawan BR is an archipelago composed of a main island and more than 1,700 islands, located at the western part of the Philippines. It is endowed with rich natural resources and highly diverse flora and fauna found in both land and sea. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classification, it has 105 out of the 475 threatened species in the Philippines. Of the 105 threatened species, 67 are endemic to the Philippines, while 42 of the 67 are Palawan endemics. Its coastal and marine ecosystems include coral reefs (379 species of corals), seagrass meadow (13 species), and mangroves (31 species, distributed in 44,500 hectares of mangrove forests, the highest remaining mangrove cover in the Philippines). It also harbors several marine mammals such as marine turtles, dugong, and whale shark. The characteristics of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems are also diverse. It is composed of old growth and second growth tropical rainforest, karstic limestone, forest over ultramafic rocks, casuarinas and beach forest.  They serve as habitats to freshwater fish (total of 18 Philippines endemics), amphibians (26 Philippines endemics), reptiles (69 species), birds (279 species), migratory birds, terrestrial mammals (58 species, of which 16 are Palawan endemics).  The Palawan BR is also home to approximately 57 ethnolinguistic groups with 3 indigenous peoples: the Tagbanua, Palaw’an, and the Bataks. The major economic activities are agriculture and fisheries. Other important industries are tourism, on-shore and off-shore mining, gathering of minor forest products, and pearl farming.

Albay Biosphere Reserve

Year of designation: 2016

Located at the southern end of the Luzon Island, the biosphere covers some 250,000 hectares. The terrestrial elevation of the site culminates at 2,462 meters and its marine part reaches a depth of 223 below sea level. The site’s high conservation value is constituted, notably, by its 182 terrestrial plant species, 46 of which are endemic. Its marine and coastal ecosystems number 12 species of mangrove, 40 species of seaweed or macro-algae, and 10 species of sea grass. Five of the world’s seven species of marine turtles are to be found in Albay. A new species from genus Pseudogekko (False gecko), a phenotypically distinctive clade of small, slender, arboreal lizards found exclusively in the Philippines was discovered on the foothills of Mt. Mayon, Sitio Nagsipit, Barangay Mariroc, Tabaco, Albay described by Cameron D. Siler et al. The etymology of the said new species was derived from the Tagalog (Filipino) verb “sumiklab”, meaning to burst out quickly, or hotly, or to ignite and flare up, in reference to the locality of the species which is the active Mt. Mayon Volcano.