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Philippine forests one of world’s most threatened–NGO

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:28:00 02/04/2011

Filed Under: Forest and forest management, Environmental Issues, government

MANILA, Philippines?Years of logging and invasive human activities have made Philippine forests one of the world?s most threatened, according to a report by the Conservation International.

The Philippines? tropical forests ranked fourth in the group of 10 most threatened forests that the CI has been monitoring, the Washington, DC-based NGO said.

Only about 7 percent of the country?s forests remain as natural habitat for species, the CI said.

CI blamed unmitigated logging for the deforestation as well as the clearing of forest lands for food production and other activities to meet the needs of the country?s rising population, which currently stands at around 90 million.

?Historically logged for timber products, today the remaining forests are also being cleared for farming and to accommodate the needs of the nation?s high population growth rate and severe rural poverty. The livelihoods of around 80 million people are highly dependent on natural resources,? the CI report said.

The other forests in the most-threatened list are found in the Indo-Burma region, New Caledonia, Sundaland, Atlantic Forest in Brazil, Southwest China, California, Eastern Africa, Madagascar and Indian Ocean islands, and Eastern Afromontane.

CI said the country?s green cover is home to flora and fauna that can only be found in the Philippines.

But many of the endemic species are now confined to fragments of forest covering only seven percent of the original hotspot, it said.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the environment department aims to rehabilitate the 8 million hectares of denuded forest land in the Philippines. He said the country loses about 2 percent of its forests each year.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Education recently announced a massive greening program to improve the country?s forest cover under the Forests for the Future project.



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