Inventory and conservation of endangered, endemic and economically important flora of Hamiguitan

The Mt. Hamiguitan Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental was declared  a protected area on July 24, 2004 by virtue of Republic Act 9303. This area has  a unique pygmy forest growing in an ultrafamic soil. However, its unique biodiversity resources are also in danger from timber poaching, illegal logging, and over harvesting of forest products and resources. This may result in the loss of some important flora and fauna before they can  even be recorded, studied or  conserved.

Amoroso et al. (CMU) conducted this research to record and assess the flora and to recommend measures  preventing  eventual loss of  remaining biodiversity in Hamiguitan Range. The research specifically aimed to 1) identify and describe the vegetation types; 2) determine the diversity and species importance values (SIV); 3) assess the conservation status of the species whether endemic, endangered, rare and economically important; 4) determine species distribution and habitats for conservation; and 5) recommend conservation measures regarding the protection of the threatened and endemic species.

Findings

  • Five vegetation types were revealed in the study through field reconnaissance and transect walk. These are agro-ecosystem, dipterocarp, montane, typical mossy and mossy-pygmy forests.
  • The inventory of plants showed  a total of 878 species, 342 genera and 136 families. Out of these, there were 698  angiosperms, 25 gymnosperms, 41 ferns and 14 fern allies.
  • Assessment of the conservation status of species revealed 163 endemic, 34 threatened, 33 rare and 204 economically important species. There were eight species recorded as new in Mindanao and one species recorded new in the Philippines. 
  • Lithocarpus Ilanosi was observed per plot in an average of 63.7 individual trees. This had the highest SIV.
  • Among the vegetation types, montane forest had the highest diversity value of trees, SIV, and species richness.
  • Results  revealed that the five vegetation types of Mt. Hamiguitan were habitats of threatened, endemic, rare and economically important species of plants that should be given high priority for protection and conservation. The results of this study are recommended to be used by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and local government units for formulating policies.

Source:Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development.  Highlights 2007.