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Ecosystems / Habitats PDF Print E-mail
Figure 1. Map of the Philippines

The Philippines is located in Southeast Asia, between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam and north of Indonesia and Malaysia (Fig. 1). It is composed of 7,107 islands covering a total area of 300,000 sq km. The main island groups are Luzon, Visayas and, Mindanao with Manila as the capital city.

As of the latest census in August 2007, population reached 88.57 million with an annual growth rate of 2.04%.  Over 60% of the population live in coastal areas, with Luzon (the largest island group), accounting for more than half of the entire population.  Projected population for 2009 is 92.23 million (NSO, 2007) although there is currently an unofficial population estimate of 96.06 million as of July 2008.

The Philippines has vast natural resources that are a source of food, water, shelter and livelihood for its rapidly growing population. It is one of 18 megabiodiversity countries (containing 2/3 of the earth’s biodiversity and about 70-80% of the world’s plant and animal species) due to its geographical isolation, diverse habitats and high rates of endemism. The Philippines is 5th in the number of plant species and maintains 5% of the world’s flora.  Species endemism is very high covering at least 25 genera of plants and 49% of terrestrial wildlife.  It also ranks 4th in bird endemism. In terms of fishes, there are about 3,214 (incomplete list) with about 121 endemic and 76 threatened species.

Unfortunately, it is also one of the world’s hotspots - with a large number of endangered and threatened species - thus making it one of the top global conservation priority areas.