Look at the Philippines on a world map and you'll see a glorious archipelago. The country's thousands of islands and surrounding waters are rich in biodiversity, from wild animals to native plants. Extensive rainforests and grasslands, plus a tropical climate create the ideal setting for many plant species to thrive. But a closer look reveals that many of the Philippines' plants, many of which are endemic, are in trouble. Out of 97 endangered plant species, 57 are critically endangered.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Mangifera odorata, Kibatalia puberula and Phalaenopsis lindenii are some of the endangered plant species of the Philippines. Critically endangered species include Dendrobium schuetzei, Alocasia atropurpurea, Hopea philippinensis and Cycas wadei.
Plant Biodiversity in the Philippines
Plants are an important piece of a region's biodiversity. They're vital to ecosystems and are essential resources for both wildlife and humans. The Philippines is home to between 10,000 and 14,000 species of plants. Of these, more than half are endemic to the country, meaning they're found only in the Philippines and nowhere else. The Philippines possesses around five percent of the earth's plant species and ranks fifth in the world for the overall number of plant species existing within the country.
Endangered Plant Species
Species or subspecies whose survival in the wild is in danger due to existing threats are called endangered species. In the Philippines, some of these endangered plants include the following:
- Mangifera odorata: Also known as the huani or kuini mango, this plant can also be found in other Southeast Asian countries.
- Kibatalia puberula: A small evergreen tree found only on Samar Island in the Philippines.
- Phalaenopsis lindenii: A white-petaled orchid tinged with pale pink or lavender.
Critically Endangered Plant Species
Species that face a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future are classified as critically endangered. Some of the Philippines' critically endangered plant species include the following:
- Dendrobium schuetzei: An orchid species with white flowers, found only on Mindanao Island.
- Alocasia atropurpurea: An endemic small plant with large leaves.
- Hopea philippinensis: A small rainforest tree.
- Cycas wadei: A small palm-like tree.
Threats to Species Survival
Human activities are the main threat to plant species in the Philippines. Grassland and rainforest habitats are being destroyed in favor of building new residential areas, industrial hubs, and roads and highways. Education and sustainable development could be two of the keys to saving the Philippines' endangered plant species and preserving the country's bountiful biodiversity.
About the Author
Joshua Suico is a university teacher specializing in chemistry and the life sciences. He holds a Master of Science degree in chemistry. During his college days, he once intentionally dropped sodium pellets into a sink for fun and for science.
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