The Philippines is the home to thousands of species of plants and animals that are considered to be endemic or can be found only in the country and nowhere else in the world. Majority of them are yet to be fully studied, leaving a window open for explorers and budding environmentalists. Sadly, a large number of Philippine biodiversity is also threatened with extinction. This means that these unique creatures on land and water may disappear even before the Filipino people become aware of them.
Here’s where you can help—wherever you’ll be this summer, set aside time to take a walk along the trails of a nearby forest or even do a bit of snorkelling past the beach, take note of any plants and animals that catch your attention, and share it online.
Here are a few examples of what to look out for:
Philippine Native Plants
Over 15,000 different species of trees, flowers, and other plants can be found in the Philippines and half of these are endemic. In other words, when you find yourself in a forest, just about every other plant you’ll see is unique to the Philippines.
The national icon Narra along with Apitong, and Molave are a few examples of trees threatened with extinction due to commercial logging. Likewise the Jade Vine is one of many endemic flowers which used to be common in Philippine forests.
Coral reefs are extremely important as the habitat of countless fish that serve as the number one source of protein for Filipinos. A number of these are evolutionarily distinct and globally threatened (EDGE) and are scattered in reefs around the world. Three of these, the Mushroom Coral, Magnificence Coral, and Bubble Coral, are known to be found in the Philippines, but have not been sufficiently mapped.