THE Philippines is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity or the variety of living things. It shares with 17 other countries the distinction of being a mega diverse country, which together hosts about 70-80 percent of world’s biodiversity. However, the Philippines is also a biodiversity hotspot, meaning some of our native species are at risk of extinction. What are these native species?
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued Administrative Order 2007 – 01 few years ago which established the national list of threatened Philippine pants and their categories and the list of other wildlife species. Recently however, I stumble upon a notice in the DENR website that they are in the process of updating the list. Sadly, the deadline for submitting comments and suggestions ended last January 31, so I suppose the list is now being finalized.
I looked at the list and highlighted some species which are familiar to many of us. Here they are:
Critically endangered: they refer to a species, subspecies, varieties, or other infraspecific categories facing extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future. The list include the native tree Yakal (Shorea astylosa) and the orchid Waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana) which is dubbed as the "Queen of Philippine flowers”.
Endangared: refers to a species, subspecies, varieties, or other infraspecific categories that is not critically endangered but whose survival in the wild is unlikely if the causal factors continue operating. The list include the tree Betis (Madhuca betis)., a tree so dear to us kapampangans because Betis in Guagua was named after it. It also includes the native tree Molave (Vitex parviflora). Please take care of those Molave trees at the Aircraft Park in Clark.
Vulnerable Species – refers to a species or subspecies, varieties, formae or other infraspecific categories of plants that is not critically endangered nor endangered but is under threat from adverse factors throughout its range and is likely to move to the endangered category in the future. The list includes Kamagong or more popularly known as Mabolo or Talang (Diospyros blancoi), Apitong (Dipterocarpis grandiflorus), Dao (Dracontomelon dao), Tanguile (Shorea polysperma.) and our two varieties of Narra Tree which are smooth Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) and prickly Narra (Fabaceae Pterocarpus indicus). The only prickly Narra that I have seen so far is the one standing tall at the Gintong Pakpak resort in Arayat.
Other Threatened Species – refers to a species, subspecies, varieties, or other infraspecific categories that is not critically endangered, endangered nor vulnerable but is under threat from adverse factors, such as over collection throughout its range and is likely to move to the vulnerable category in the near future. Balacat Tree (Ziziphus talanai), the City tree of Mabalacat, is still in this category.
Just like in the old administrative order, the collection of plants listed under the revised list and their by-products and derivatives shall be allowed only for scientific or propagation purposes in accordance with Sections 17 and 23 of RA 9147 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations. Only the accredited individuals, business, research, educational or scientific entities shall be allowed to collect for scientific or propagation purposes only.