Assessment of Biodiversity of a Watershed Forest Fragment in Southwestern Sierra Madre, Philippines
In June 1994 the United Coconut Planters Bank-Coconut Industry Investment Fund (UCPB-CIIF) Foundation partnered with the Department of Environment ad Natural Resources (DENR) to implement a watershed reforestation project in a 33.3-hectare site in Brgy San Jose, Boso-boso, Antipolo City, Rizal. The UCPB-CIIF has received several citations for the successful reforestation of the area. The project was indeed successful in restoring the forest structure. However, the ecological functions of this watershed forest have not been fully restored as themajority of species planted were exotic species (Swietenia macrophylla, Gmelina arborea and Acacia spp.) which according to studies could be one of the direct causes of watershed degradation.
The UCPB-CIIF partnered with Haribon Foundation and conducted surveys in November 2008 and June 2009 to determine the biological diversity and provided recommendations to improve the management of the reforestation area. The study recorded 53 birds, 6 mammals, 8 herpetofauna and 108 floral speciesincluding a threatened endemic bird species (Ashy Thrush Zoothera cinerea) and 10 other globally threatened species. The area is vulnerable to anthropogenic threats such as timber poaching and encroachment as it is surrounded by human settlements and agricultural areas. The study observed that despite the small size and relatively poor quality of the habitat within the reforestation area it still harbors wildlife including a number of globally threatened species. It is recommended that further ecological research work be undertaken cand the development of a watershed management plan which integrates rainforestation technology, tree-planting activities as well as awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns.