Philippine island being deforested despite extensive protections

31 October 2014

About an hour and a half plane ride from the Philippine capital Manila is a long, narrow island home to about a quarter of all the animal species found in the country. So unique is this island called Palawan that it hosts two World Heritage sites, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in the provincial capital, and the Tubbataha Reef in Cagayancillo.

Data from Global Forest Watch (GFW) reveal more than 6 percent of Palawan’s forest cover has been lost since 2001. But as humans raze the island's extensive forests for development, many animals--including 27 endemic species of birds, 19 varieties of land mammals, and 24 kinds of reptiles--are facing huge population declines.

Environmentalists and scientists say the island has many problems: land conversion due to human population increases, logging, and even a huge palm plantation, together with continuous quarrying and mining activities.

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